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How did you start collecting?
Member Name: Squiggles
Date: 15/01/01, updated on 15/01/01 (66 review reads)
Advantages: They don't answer back, they love being held...
Disadvantages: Can be very costly
It was an ordinary bad ME day, I was laying on the sofa watching my muscles spasm and wishing I had the same energy that they seemed to have when the telephone rang. My friend Joanne screamed down the line at me, 'Louise, I'm in love!!'. I scratched my head a little, Jo had been married to Nick for quite a few years and although I know she loved him dearly, it was unusual for her to declare undying love for him on the phone to me, more often than not, we'd have a good half hour of moaning about how our respective hubbies left the toilet seat up, left sweaty socks draped across the bedroom floor and spent an amazing amount of time propping up the bar of the nearest pub!
Jo went on to explain that she had discovered a magazine, and after just a flick through the pages had fallen totally and utterly in love with a whole range of teddy bears. I smirked a lot, thought bless her, well she is from Yorkshire, and continued to listen as she told me about the wonderful individual characters and personalities of each and every teddy featured in the magazine. 'I have to start collecting these bears,' she said, 'but they're very expensive!'
I thought back to my last trip out and remembered seeing a whole range of fluffy teds at my local Woolworth's store at £2.99 each and thought that I certainly knew of more expensive collectibles. 'You don't understand,' she told me, 'these are special bears, not made from your usual cheap acrylic plush, but fashioned from top quality mohair and all handmade by artists, some are Limited Editions, some are Open Editions and some are just One-offs.' She was full of enthusiasm, had never heard her so excited. 'And even better,' she went on. 'You can even make your own, they have lots of suppliers, patterns and everything! You should have a go at this Lou, when you're resting you could do a little bit of sewing to while away the hours, would give you some
thing to concentrate on when the pain is at it's worst.'
Well, I had to agree that any gentle hobby that would take my mind off my aching muscles and throbbing head had to be a godsend, but with a sinking heart, I remembered my attempts at needlework from school, when my gentle and patient teacher became so frustrated at my total lack of ability that she finally threw up her hands in disgust and banned me from her needlework classes altogether! I explained this to Jo who was not about to give up without a fight. 'Don't be such a defeatist Lou,' she said. 'Let's try making one together, we'll buy identical kits, compare notes and sore fingers and can swap the finished bears at the end. It'll be fun!'
I couldn't help but be swayed by her enthusiasm, so she told me the name of the magazine she had bought and I despatched hubby to get one for me, not expecting for one moment that the second I opened the pages, I would be totally lost, smitten and develop a love of teddy bears that I never knew was there. But Jo was right, each featured bear just oozed bundles of individuality and I was amazed at the artistry and love that had gone into making them. The attention to detail on some of these bears was just incredible, from the outfits they wore, to their individual faces. Some were clean shaven and very respectable looking bears of some distinction, other's looked like they'd just lost a long and weary battle with a large rottweiler, but one thing struck me above everything else, the bears were all beautifully made and each had their own character and their own story to tell. I fell in love with 'Scamp', a bear made by an American artist from the palest gold mohair with honey coloured suede paws and he just 'spoke to me'. I could see a glint of mischief in his bright black bootbutton eyes and he was just utterly and completely loveable. He had worn patches on his elbows and knees (do tedd
y bears have elbows and knees?) and I could see he was going to be trouble...but I had to have him!! I telephoned the artist, Scamp was an edition of five and I was lucky, I got to be the proud owner of number four and today he is still my most prized teddy in my entire collection and sits on my dressing table plotting more mischief and pulling faces at me behind my back when he thinks I'm not watching.....
Coming soon.....my account of the terrible day that my very own hand made teddy bear was born.......