Tuesday 11 December 2007

Once Upon a Design ...

Paula and 'Big Ted' 1964

With only a few more days to spare before the All Bear workshop closes it's doors for 2007, I'm so pleased I have managed to completed Cognac! I even put off a shopping trip today so that I could take advantage of the clear, dry day to photograph this bear as soon as he was finished. Photographing bears outdoors at this time of year is very frustrating and fraught with hindrances, rain and low sunshine, being the worst them!

'Cognac' designed by Paula, December 2008

It's such a treat to work with this straight dense pile Schulte mohair, it really is beautiful. The quality of this fabric is second to none and is absolutely perfect for this style of bear. My design leans towards the style of early English bears, stout gentle bears with wise faces; Cognac's hand painted eyes are my only concession to a little contemporary sparkle!

1930's/1940's English Chiltern Hugmees 'Bobby Bear'

and 'Baby Bear'

I love the early English bears, particularly those made by the Chiltern Toy Company. My own childhood bear was a Chiltern and of course, I still have him. I also now own several other wonderful examples of this manufacturer's work and for me, these old fellas surpass all other bears.

1930's English Chiltern Hugmee 'Samson'

Chiltern bears are reknowned for the quality of their mohair which truly can stand the test of time and I love the mystique of their apparent simplicity of design, which in reality, disguises a complicated truth: to achieve such wisdom of expression and bearing over time, the design relies on perfectly balanced posture created not only by the original pattern design, but also as a result of a wonderful blend of fabric choice, proportion and critically, of stuffing materials, used in harmony with classic bear making techniques.

1930's/40's English Chiltern Hugmee 'Biggest Bear'

The Chiltern Hugmee range is for me, the ultimate in teddy bear design. Those overly large heads, resting heavily on stout bodies, are just so endearing ... surpassing modern day contrivances, I think they say absolutely everything a bear needs to say about comfort, security and dependability.

1930's English Chiltern Hugmees 'Rochester' and 'Stockport'

Whilst we bear 'artists' as we like to call ourselves, strive for the next great discovery in design, tweaking and embellishing our work along the way, I think we could take a lesson from the golden oldies because in my humble opinion, they really understood exactly what bear design should be all about!


  1. Totally agree Paula..I like simplicity of design ..and teddies are best when they are uncluttered and uncomplicated.

    Hope you don't mind me tagging you...I got tagged too!!

  2. It's reassuring to hear that from another bear artist Jenny! I sometimes wonder if we run the risk of losing the teddy bear's original concept of identity by overdoing things whilst designing. It can be tricky to strike a successful balance.

    I don't mind being tagged by the way. After a disastrous day involving the installation, (or as it turned out, non-installation!)of my new gas fire, a little blog fun is very welcome! I'll be over to visit your blog to find out what's what in just a minute ...


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