Teddy bear update

Teddy bear update


Imagine the biggest teddy bear show you’ve ever been to. Fill the tables with the best artists’ and manufacturers’ teddy bears in the world. Pack the room with collectors. Now triple your vision. That is Teddybaer Total, the show held each April in Hennef, Germany.

The two-day show, sponsored by Manfred Schepp and JUrgen Cieslik, is billed as the world’s largest teddy bear event, and anyone who has wandered its three floors of displays will agree. This year there were 535 exhibitors, and over 15,000 collectors attended!

Among the exhibitors were about three dozen Americans, most of the major European manufacturers, and many shops or dealers with antiques and making supplies. Artists’ bears ranged from traditional bruins to wildly original teddy interpretations, with thousands of variations in between. Some of the manufacturers were simply displaying their pieces and meeting their collectors, while others created special editions for the show. The Hermann Spielwaren edition was particularly clever-they made a “matrix” of pandas in nine colors and nine patterns, thus creating a series of 81 one-of-a-kind bears. As collectors chose the combinations they found particularly appealing, Martin and Ursula Hermann marked the bears off the matrix chart, indicating that they were sold. CONTINUED ON PAGE 100

Interspersed with the tables were displays of unique bears, such as the world’s largest teddy bear. It is 20 feet tall-seated! Other displays included human-sized Sigikid bears and lifesized Steiff cows.

A major feature of Teddybaer Total is the Golden George Awards. The entries are examined in person at the show by a panel of five international judges and awarded points, with the highest points taking the prize in each category. The nominations and prizes are understandably coveted throughout the international bear community. This year’s winners were:

Category I – Single Bears, not dressed: Monika Stein; Category II Single Bears, dressed: Dorothea Bartels; Category III – Mini Bears: Judith Schnog; Category IV – Industrial-Bears, dressed or not dressed: R. John Wright; Category V – Single Bears with Accessories: Hannelore Daab; Category VI Natural Bears, not dressed: Gisela Hofmann; Category VII – Stuffed Animals, not dressed: Karin Wirth.

Teddybaer Total 2000 also featured the world’s largest teddy bear wedding! Fifty-five engaged bear couples were decked out in wedding gear and sent via coach to city hall, where Manfred Schepp presided over their mass wedding and the mayor of Hennef gave his blessing to the bruin unions. After the reception, many of the couples were rumored to be heading for the Black Forest for their honeymoons. For information on attending next year’s Teddybaer Total on April 28-29, 2001, see the show Web site at www.teddybaertotal.de or contact Neysa Phillippi, Off the Wall Creative Tours, 45 Gorman Ave., Indiana, PA 15 7012244 USA; 724/349-1225; fax 723/349-3903; e-mail offthewalltours@yourinter.net.


Perhaps because it’s held only every five years, the Teddy Bear Reunion in the Heartland in Clarion, Iowa, has a mystique like no other show. It’s one of those events that “everyone” attends-approximately 10,000 everyones, ranging from die-hard bear collectors to curious folks from the next town over. At the June 2000 convention, 46 states and 11 countries were represented amongst the 830 conventioneers and thousands of visitors. And with good reason.

The show began on a Thursday with registration, a picnic, and opening ceremonies. Then it raced through three more days packed with events, workshops, discussions, socializing, and teddy bears. Among the highlights were the Spectacular Bear Exhibit and Sale (artists’ most fabulous bears on display); an Authors Autographing Party, where books and magazines were available for signature and sale from their creators; and a festival parade featuring all of the exhibitors waving from trolleys and trucks and followed by a long line of antique tractors. The food was an event of its Own. Con- CONTINUED ON PAGE 102 ventioneers enjoyed picnics, a pizza party, some amazing turkey tenders, and a delicious applewood barbecue. At the firemen’s pancake breakfast, the chefs flipped pancakes from the 10-foot-long griddles straight onto the plates of those agile enough to catch them. During the Saturday afternoon town festival, collectors mobbed the food stands and waited in crowds 20 people deep for a plate of homemade pie a la mode.

One of the weekend’s major events was the charity Auction, where teddy bears made in a books and authors theme were sold to benefit Clarion’s Heartland Museum. More than 100 lots were auctioned off, raising at least $51,000. The top prices were brought by Donna Hodges’s Lewis and Clark and Linda Ashcraft’s Fowl Trio, $1000 each; Jennifer Laing’s Teddy Bear Art and Genie Buttitta’s I Am A Little Polar Bear, $1050 each; Kathy Wallace’s The Three Bears, Barbara Conley’s Teddy B and Teddy G, and Joan Davis’s “I’m Ready for the Parade! Are you?”, $1200 each; and Janette Warner’s The Night Before Christmas, $2400. First Citizen’s National Bank of Clarion also bought “Alvina #1,” a figurine of Clarion’s popular “hat lady,” Alvina Sellers, for $1000 and donated the piece back to the Heartland Museum.

The show itself, usually the focal point of a convention, seemed a small part of the action-packed weekend. But, as you might expect at such a gathering, bears flew off tables into collectors’ arms. Collectors were seen carrying armloads of bears; tables were laid bare by enthusiastic arctophiles. One exhibitor summed it up with a simple, “Wow!”

Far more important than the sales or the charitable donation were the feelings of fellowship and goodwill that pervaded the weekend. Everyone seemed to come away refreshed and ready to tackle the next five years of teddy bear making and collecting. And they all agreed: they’ll be back in 2005!


Beautiful bears, an unsolved mystery, chocolate-chip cookies, and wonderful workshops made attending the 11 th Teddy Bear Jubilee in Kansas City a special treat. When artists and collectors weren’t trying to solve the mystery of Lady Bearington’s missing diamond ring at this Teddy’s Mystery Weekend, they were making pink panthers in Terri Effan’s make and take workshop, learning more about mohair from Betsy Ream, creating magical amulet bags with Ann Inman-Looms, and getting a lesson in teddy bear manufacturing from Kimberly Hunt. On Friday night, everyone gathered for the Good Bears of the World fundraising auction. Auctioneer and teddy bear artist Martha Burch kept everyone laughing and bidding, and $14,700 was raised for GBW. On Saturday, hundreds attended the CONTINUED ON PAGE 104 Public Show and Sale and were impressed by the high quality of the bears. The Show’s Display Competition winners include Pam Holton for Public Choice Award, Edna Bossert for the Bill Boyd Award, and Pam Holton for Chairman’s Award. First place awards went to Jan Alford, Sandi Russell, Cindy Anschutz, Donna Nielsen, Jill Hawthorne, Edna Bossert, Pam Holton, and Judith Eppolito. For this year’s Jubilee, Terri Larson made the souvenir bears, and in keeping with the show’s theme, she created bears after the characters in Clue, the board game. The bears even came in boxes decorated like the game of Clue.

Jubilee 2001 is scheduled for July 12-14 with Teddy’s Favorite Holiday as its theme. For information on registering for next year’s Jubilee, contact Joel Hoy or Daniel Epley, DBFH Studios, 913/677-2138, visit on the Web at www.teddybearjubilee.com, or e-mail dbfh@sky.net.


Everyone who attended the sixth annual Ross Park Zoo Artist Invitational in July in Binghamton, New York, left the weekend with warm, contented feelings and full stomachs, from being treated to wonderful bears and royal treatment. The show, a benefit for the Ross Park Zoo, is run by volunteers and raises substantial sums for the zoo each year. This year’s show raised a whooping $22,631 for the zoo’s rainforest and aviary habitat.

At the gallery show, Wanda Shope won the first place Peoples Choice Award with her “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by the Andrews Sisters.” Her piece included a 1940s suitcase filled with nostalgic 1940s items, a bugle boy, and the three Andrew sisters. Second place went to Maggie Newman for her “Mister Zoot Suit and His Big Cheroot” and John Renpenning’s long, thin potbellied Woodstock won third.

While the gallery show was wonderful, the auction was unbelievableespecially when, in jest, “The Leg” was added to the auction. “The Leg,” also called the “Millie Shocker piece” or the “Millieenium,” was made from scraps leftover from the creation of Teddy 2000 and was intended as a joke for show chairperson Millie Gage. Bidding for “The Leg” started at one cent and quickly rose as floral centerpieces, bottles of wine, magazines, CONTINUED ON PAGE 106 Steve VanHouten’s hat and other quirky items were added to the collection. When the bidding stopped at $350, artist Sharon Learned quietly added a small elephant.

Spurred by her donation, other artists added bears. In the end, 29 artists donated bears, and the bid closed at an amazing $4500, with Carol and Larry Steed the winners. The Steeds also purchased Teddy 2000, a bear created by 27 artists the day before the auction.

Next year, the show will be held August 18 and 19. For information, contact TBAI/Ross Park Zoo, 18 Ford Street, Windsor, NY 138654017; phone 607/655-2279; visit on the Web at www.tbai.org; or e-mail info@tbai.org. Photos submitted by Rita Shea.


For a new year’s treat, attend the 10th anniversary IDEX show, January 26-28, 2001, at the Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. At the show, its co-sponsors Teddy Bear and Friends and Doll Reader magazines will judge and announce their Industry’s Choice Winners-nominees for the TOBY Award for Teddy Bear and Friends and the DOTY for Doll Reader. Throughout the show, artists and manufacturers will debut and sell their one-of-a-kind and limited edition collectible bears, plush, and dolls to dealers and trade buyers.

While IDEX is a wholesale order writing show for resellers, collectors will gather Sunday, January 28, for Collector Appreciation Day. They will see new work, meet the artists, and attend interesting seminars including a slide presentation on teddy bear artistry and a tea with Sally Winey. While collectors can’t buy at the show, they are encouraged to contact their retailer to order those dolls and bears.

For more information, phone 404/378-2217; fax 404/378-8819 or write, IDEX, PO. Box 133011, Atlanta GA 30333-9805; or visit on the Web, www.bearexpo.com.


Last April, Edie Rase and her husband Bob traveled 1500 miles to eight cities to deliver 1000 teddy bears to hospitalized children in Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida. “We selected the largest hospitals so that we could reach the largest number of children,” says Edie about Project Smiles. “We were exhausted but exhilarated. Bringing smiles and cuddles to scared and sick children was very rewarding.” Edie is Chairbear of the Central Florida den of Good Bears of the World, and she conceived the projects. The 1000 bears were donated by Publix Super Market Charities, by Good Bear of the World, and by Edie’s Central Florida den.

For more information, contact Edie Rase, in care of Good Bears of the World, P.O. Box 13097, Toledo, OH 43613.


Dave and Beth White of LaGrange, Illinois, have created a one-hour presentation on teddy bears, and they take their talk, as well as some of their more than 300 bears, on the road to hospitals, senior groups, Girl Scout troops, and other clubs and organizations. “As much as we like meeting collectors, our real mission is introducing non-collectors to the wonderful experience of teddy bears.” For more information, contact Dave and Beth White, 1124 South Kensington, LaGrange, IL 60525; phone 708/354-1822.


With her rose-colored bear Jesse beside her, teddy bear artist Maria Jones rode her motorcycle over 1800 miles to raise money to find a cure for breast cancer as a participant in the Women’s Motorcycle Foundation’s third annual Pony Express Ride for the Cure. All riders handcarried “Special Delivery Mail,” messages from people about their memories of those lost to the disease, about their support for those surviving, and about their hope for a future free of breast cancer. So far, almost $1.4 million has been raised and donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Maria hopes the total will go even higher after she donates the proceeds from the sale of her bear Jesse. For more information, contact Maria Jones via e-mail maria@bylavalle.com.TB

Copyright Cowles Enthusiast Media Nov/Dec 2000

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