Thursday 30 May 2013

Bears on the Square

If you are planning a trip to the beautiful town of Ironbridge in Shropshire, please pop into the 'Bears on the Square' shop, one of the largest and longest established teddy bears shops in Britain ... 

Benjamin (11" dk brown) Duncan (8" blue) and Elmer (8" gold)

I am delighted to be able to tell you, my first shop exclusive teddy bears for this lovely shop will be in store from tomorrow!

Teddy Bear & Friends Picnic!

The 'Teddy Bear & Friends Picnic' show goes live online on the 28th June, so I only have four weeks to prepare! I will have five special pieces ready for this lovely weekend show and have just uploaded my first creation to the show website in time for the preview and voting on 14th June ... time to get a wriggle on with some 'friends' Paula!

I do hope you will be able to join in the fun, as this promises to be a lively show!

For full show details, please visit

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Puppy Love!

Forgive me for yet another puppy post!  

Polly was invited to play with Bugsy, my sister's beautiful German Shepherd, on Sunday.  It was their first meeting and I swear Polly has been sulking since she had to say goodbye and come home ... this is definitely a case of puppy love!

Bugsy was such a gentle boy with our cheeky little Miss and even forgave her grabbing his tail and holding on tight.  They bounced around the garden together all afternoon while we humans enjoyed the sunshine, chat, cake and coffee ... a super way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Friday 24 May 2013

Creative osmosis?

As you know, I have been a little behind with my bear making schedule of late (thanks to Polly!) but that doesn't mean I haven't been paying the bear world attention.  I'm always busy behind the scenes running the Guild of Master Bearcrafters and am happy to say, it goes from strength to strength, now boasting a membership of over seven hundred international bearcrafters ... amazing!

Naturally, when creative people are drawn together by a common passion, debate can be lively  and our private members' forum is well attended on the Guild.  Lately we have been chatting about the age old topic of inspiration vs. copying, to try and pinpoint where one ends and the other begins ... an important issue for anyone who works hard to create a unique creative identity.

In all my years of bear crafting, I have never found a definitive answer to this question, but I do think it is an important question to think about.  My own view is that the best kind of creativity seeks to employ inspiration in a unique and original way.  To my mind, copycats are fundamentally lazy ... I mean, if you can make a half decent copy of someone else's work, you could probably use a little more imagination and effort to make something original, then enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you accomplished something individual to you.  The bottom line is, a direct copy of someone else's work made without their permission, will not flatter them - it is downright exploitative.

However, I do wonder if perhaps it would be fairer if, rather than immediately being indignant when a bear similar in style  to our own arrives on the scene (I'm not talking overt copies here), we should perhaps be a little kinder towards the maker?  I remember years ago my sister and I set ourselves a challenge to make a bear from two shades of the same fabric.  We chose the fabric together and decided an approximate size, but that was as far as our collaboration went.  We each took our fabric home and created a bear without further discussion.  

This was the result ...

I made the bear on the left, my sister made the bear on the right.  As you can see, they 'bear' a strong family resemblance (as do we, lol!)  but we didn't design or make these bears together.  I think it's fair to say this pair of bears turned out remarkably similar anyway, don't you?

Generally speaking, most bear crafters start their design career from the same traditional style of teddy bear, ie they all work with the basic body, head, limbs and five way jointing design.  From that original bear, alternative styles, techniques and creative expressions evolve over time.  Perhaps, just like a creative osmosis, we absorb information simply by looking at other bear crafters' work and because by nature we are creative, elements of that information sometimes process into our own work.  In almost 20 years of bear making, I have noticed it is very rare that anyone comes up with a completely new design which has never been done in one form or another before.

So, for what it's worth, my view is (and it is just my personal view, there will be many other alternatives) the most important thing for both new and established bear crafters, is to try to retain an awareness of why we are taking the creative path we have chosen ... is it to be unique in our work, or is it simply to make bears for sale at any cost?

To achieve a signature style takes time and is probably one of the most rewarding aspects of design.  Drawing inspiration from the world around us is inevitable, but applying that inspiration into original design should be part of a natural creative process, not a deliberate ploy to profit from someone else's hard work.

Monday 20 May 2013


I am pleased to say my little bucking bronco behaved like a perfect lady on the lead for her very first walkies at the weekend!  She had a lovely time out and about meeting her public at the park for the first time on Saturday ...

Come on Fay, let's run!!!!

Making friends

Just chillin' by the river

Perfect ladies!

A cuddle with Fay

Polly was such a good girl while we were out ... gentle with the many children who came to say hello, patient while other dogs sniffed and circled her (sitting daintily when they became a little too exhuberant for her liking!) and very well behaved on her lead.  She coped so well with her first taste of the big wide world and it goes without saying, we are very proud of her!

Thursday 9 May 2013

Better late than never!

Puppy playtime, not to mention training time, cleaning up time and feeding time, has made a dent in my bear-making schedule of late, but thankfully Tracy at the One More Bear shop in Stoke-on-Trent is one of the loveliest bear shop owners to work with and has been very patient waiting for her new batch of Tiddler bears ... thank you so much Tracy!

8" Pippin

8.5" Liberty

8" Ruben

8" Jonagold

8" Cameo

I am delighted to say, these five Tiddlers will be wending their way to the shop today and should arrive in store tomorrow ... better late than never eh?  

Polly Puppy sends her apologies too!

Wednesday 1 May 2013

More than words ..

After last week's unpleasantness, these beautiful flowers arrived today with a lovely message.  The senders are very special people who have themselves worked tirelessly to support bear artistry and bear artists for many years. Thank you so much, your thoughtful gesture means a great deal to me xxx

Smell the roses?

This little lady has us smitten and I wonder now, how we ever managed without her ... she is such a bundle of fun, a real smile maker!

With Duckie

As I sit on my swivel chair, she looks at me quizzically as if to say 'come on Mum, the sun's out, let's play in the garden' ... and to be fair, she makes a good point!

It goes without saying my bear making schedule has taken a bit of a battering since she arrived last Thursday, but once in a while, it doesn't hurt to put life back into perspective ... all work and no play is no good for anyone, especially bear makers!

So please accept my apology if I seem a little distracted from my sewing, we'll  soon find our routine and get back on track, but in the meantime, my beautiful puppy needs sunshine and some fun ... and so does her new mum!

Many years ago a well known American bear artist told me to 'make time to smell the roses' and she was absolutely right ... but today, rather than smelling the roses, I'm about to rush outside to stop my new friend from eating them!


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