Friday, 15 June 2007

Fair exchange is no robbery.

Here's HUGHIE!

Recently one of my suppliers contacted me to ask if I would be interested in receiving a sample of a new fabric they were introducing, in return for photographs of any bear I could create from it, so they could use the pics to give their customers an idea of how the fabric looks when made up. I thought it sounded a fair exchange, so set to work and 17" 'Hughie', now available for sale on my website is the outcome.

The fabric is less dense than I would usually choose to work with and has lent Hughie a very sweet faced, slightly tousled, appeal. I thought the gorgeous traditional dark amber glass eyes worked very well with the colour and was drawn to traditional gold velvet paw pads to complete his overall look. I created a new pattern for Hughie and am pleased with the outcome. He's a lovely size, a manageable 17" hug ... just right! Oh, I nearly forgot to tell you, I've given him a growler too, so that when you tilt him forwards for a cuddle, he can growl his appreciation.

Now I must get back to work on my BAO Summer Show bears ... let's see if I can get at least one more completed before the deadline ... I can't wait to share them with you them properly!


It's been an odd week really. A week of mixed feelings. I don't know if you will remember, but for many years I worked with my sister Fiona creating bears under the 'Auntie Bears' banner.

'Becks' by Paula Carter and 'Scrump' by Fiona Smith ... created mid 90's.

We were proud to be bear makers and shared a great deal over the years as we created our niche. Many's the time we've dashed excitedly to the local newsagents desperate to get hold of a teddy mag we know our work is about to be featured in, or have packed up the car with our precious teds and made our way, Thelma and Louise stylie, to take part in a bear show.
Showtime! Early days ... The 'Auntie Bears' stand.

We've planned for the future together, built British Bears on the Net together, launched our charity project 'Dare to Care' together, munched cake, drunk copious amounts of coffee and above all else, laughed and sighed together, during our decade shared as teddy bear designers.
'Beau' by Paula Carter and 'Lottie' by Fiona Smith .. these were available exclusively in Singapore, an edition of ten bears apiece.

However, time moves on and lives take unexpectedly different turns, so a while ago Fiona made the difficult decision to move into a completely new field of work. Initially she felt she would want to return to bear making on an occasional basis and would be reluctant to give up entirely but subsequently, she has become so involved with her new world, she can no longer imagine herself returning to teddy bear design work.

Naturally this is very sad for me, because I miss all that we built together and shared as sisters in the bear world, which let's face it, can be a lonely place to be whilst working, but I am pleased Fo has found fulfilment in her new role and am grateful to her for all the support she has given me over the years and for the huge stash of bear making materials she so generously donated to me a few days ago. Who knows, with luck maybe one day she will get the urge to create again and if that happens, I'll be ready, willing and able to help with components, coffee and of course, cake!

High Spirits with my sister Fiona, on my 40th birthday!


  1. Wow! Its really interesting to see how your bears have changed and developed. I remember seeing yours and your sister's bears in magazines when I was a little girl!!
    Bear-making can be a lonely occupation, can't it!! I think the internet has really helped bear makers feel less isolated in recent times though. I guess everything changes and moves forward with time.

  2. Now that makes me feel ancient Samantha! LOL!!! You're so right about the internet, it's a great way of easing the isolation for those of us who work from home, thank goodness!

  3. Just found your blog about a week ago and Im already a regular visitor. I adore your bears. I agree bearmaking can be very lonely if it weren't for the internet and making new friends through it.

  4. That is so neat to see two sisters who share not only the talent for making bears but the love of the art of making bears. That would make me a wee bit sad too. Well, when she comes back to bear making (I'm positive she will) you'll have to give her a little "stash" of supplies as a gift!

  5. Good to hear from you both ladies! Thank you for taking the trouble to chat ... it's made me feel much happier x


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