Purely by a chance conversation about antique and vintage teddy bears almost 20 years ago when purchasing mohair and other materials I’d always loved bears and that conversation coincided with borrowing a couple of books on creating miniature jointed bears from my local library.
A gentleman had approached the man I was chatting to in regards to repairing his huge bear who needed new pads and on hearing this I offered to restore him. I sadly don’t have any photos as it didn’t occur to me at the time to record his repairs.
What Attracts you to Working with Teddy Bears?
I love them, I love their history and the satisfaction and happiness I can bring to their owners once I have restored them, it’s a real connection. I restored a little sheepskin bear recently and his owner Kate and I have become firm friends.
What is your Favourite Type of Bear?
My favourite little bear is the tiny Schuco bear I bought when I was eleven and which cost me just 25p. I lost him for a few years when my daughter was little as she mislaid him at her Dad’s, years later when he moved my bear was found and I now have two more like him.
Who Has been your Most Satisfying Bear Restoration?
A little bear called Tiny who had been attacked by a puppy who had ruined his beautiful face. I literally turned his face around and made him a new one, nose and everything from the original material from the back of his head and created his new features. His owner was so pleased and he looked brilliant.
What is the Oldest Restoration you Have Done?
Probably a lovely old Steiff bear made around 1905, I restored his four pads. This restoration was for the Petworth Teddy Bear Museum via Recollect. With him came a replica of Aloysius which was the bear from Brideshead Revisited, sadly not the one, but a lovely bear and I can’t remember what he needed! Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
Why do People Restore Their Bears and Old Toys?
It’s love! They are the healing friends that you can always turn to, they provide a deep connection with the past, and provide confidence and comfort. I once restored a lovely old teddy bear belonging to a lady of eighty five, she sent me a photo of when she was given the bear for her 5th birthday when she posted me the bear which was lovely.