Woodland Teddies by Rita Harwood
I was born in Feb 1951 in London and have collected teddies and other soft furries for almost as long. I have always enjoyed art, making things and needlework so I guess that it isn't that surprising that I designed and created things in my spare time.
I have collected bears for as long as I can remember but I didn't start making them until late 1996 after visiting the Hugglets show in Kensington and desperately wanting a bear I couldn't afford.
Once I had made one, I was hooked! At the time I was teaching computer science to university level students so it was very much something I could only do in my limited spare time so progress was quite slow.
I was designing my own right from the start though initially they were very traditional. But my love of cats led me to experiment and by 99 I had made my first feline which I took to a show to ask a bear artist for an opinion and ended up with Teddy Bear Club International asking for a picture, that led to me being persuaded to enter a competition and at the end of the year I received my first award but I didn't know anything about the bear business so while it gave me many nice swaps it was another couple of years before I gained enough confidence, experience and courage to try to make something more of my wonderful pastime.
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