Why I like teddy bears

Arctophilia (from the Greek, Arcto meaning 'bear', and philos meaning 'love'), or teddy bear collecting to the layman, is something I've been doing all my life.

From the moment I was born, I always had bringy a little pink elephant. Then, over the years, people started to buy me more. Let's face it, they are rather cute. They just sit there, looking cute and like hugs. Of course, hugs are important too. :)

They're always there for you too -- whenever you need them. :) They don't argue back, they just listen. Not that I talk to them or anything (I'm not that crazy, honest!) but it's the thought that counts. :)

Collecting teddy bears

Deciding on adding a teddy bear into one's hug (that's the term used to describe a collection of teddy bears) is not an easy decision. It might be that the pursuit of a teddy bear takes place due to having seen it in a photo, or it might be one wants to have a specific teddy bear due to its provenance, etc. But whatever the reason, it's always a nice moment when a new teddy bear is adopted.

For many, collecting a teddy bear reminds them of their childhood, of happy times. For the teddy bear has a certain innocence about it, an unassuming quality to do no harm, unconditionally offering their comforting services, yet retaining their own character and charm.

Most of that is reflected in my own collections, with some of them featured in photo below. I've been lucky over the years that most of my teddies have been presents from family and friends, which says a lot. To me, the teddy represents something about the person who gave me that bear and it is that which I will never forget.

I do not collect teddy bears for their monetary value, and I believe to do so is wrong -- a teddy bear should be enjoyed and loved by their owner, regardless of whether the teddy bear cost a fortune or a few pence.

Deciding on a teddy bear

As mentioned, it's not an easy decision to add a new teddy bear into one's hug. There's three ways a new teddy bear makes it into a hug:

Yes, it's true! Some say that a teddy bear chooses you. I've experienced this. When I was at Hugglets 2008, I adopted chester as soon as I saw him. He was wonderful, and regardless of the price, I went straight up to the teddy bear artist to ask more about him. And that was it, I had purchased him. :) He now sits on my coffee table. He's a big teddy bear. :)

But more importantly, I knew instantly with Chester where he would fit within my hug. And that's a very important point. Teddy bears can choose you, and if they do, the end result is easy. :)

But what I find is more common is finding a slot for a new teddy bear. Deciding where a new bear might fit within a hug is not an easy decision. I will often spend days sometimes looking at where all my existing teddy bears are and then work out where a new bear will sit, even before I've adopted them. This is much more common with commissioned teddy bears, because up-front, one does not always know what the teddy bear will be until he's made. But by the very nature, a commissioned teddy bear ought to be good, because to have it commissioned is to put faith -- your faith -- in the person making it. I've never had a problem with this, but then I only commission a teddy bear from one artist so far, because I like her teddy bears.

And when I say "finding a new slot", I really mean understanding how he will look next to other teddy bears, and whether he will look OK. Sometimes though, even after the fact, a teddy bear, adopted even with the best of intentions might not always look good in a hug. Peter Bull mentioned this once, where he had a teddy bear that was too evil for his hug. A sad day for that teddy bear, but teddy bears should never feel threatened or have their status quo disrupted unnecessarily.

So when I work out if a new teddy bear will fit into my hug, I look at all my other teddy bears. Their colour, their expression, the way they sit -- and as some of them sit together, I like to work out if new teddy will sit OK with them. Sometimes this might mean rearranging some of my hug, which is difficult because whilst all teddy bears get along, it's disruptive to me to have to do it. But, once done, and I am happy said teddy will fit in, I let the other teddies get used to their new friends (if I've had to move them) and know that when I put new teddy in-situ, he'll be fine. :)

It's not an easy process. :)

The same applies if someone buys you a teddy bear, although sometimes it's easier, because sometimes those teddies are not as expressive.

The Annotated Teddy Bear

(Image courtesy of Dangerbears.)

The diagram shows the main points I look for in a teddy bear, and perhaps why I love the Original Teddy design so much.


Here's some of them:

Some of my teddies on the fireplace. Edwarde -- a beare of Mimizan Teddy -- my grandad's teddy bear.
Brock -- a lovely Russ Berrie bear. xteddy! A gund teddy bear Stitchy! A teddy bear made by myself and Mother.
Quincy P. McBearsen - a Boyd teddy Debra -- this is the bear my Mother made me for Christmas 2008 Frenchie - a dear little 1950s MerryThought teddy.
Goldie -- a fine example of a traditional Merrythought bear. Lucky -- a miniture replica of a rare Steiff. Paddington - just one example of him.
Two Merrythoughts togther. :) A beautiful Steiff purchased from Teddy Bears of Witney. A bluefoot teddy bear. (Company now defunct.)
Chad -- a well-loved Chad Valley teddy. Gwent -- a Gwent Toys teddy (his eyes are nice.) Hugmeee -- a beautiful Chiltern teddy.
Rupert! A beautiful Australian teddy. Noah -- beautiful teddy from TBAE in Stratford 2009. Some of my teddies in a hug.
Bertie -- curtesy of Sue Jennings. :) Bertie in his new hug. Rupert and friends. :)
Buddy -- from Dangerbears. Leo -- from Dangerbears (he has a squeaker. :) Leo and Buddy together, as they were adopted together.
Leo and buddy on my chair. Chester -- of Jigpaws, bought at Hugglets 2009. Chester in-situ. :)
Arthur - bought at Hugglets 2009. Claude -- a commissioned teddy by Becky Chase of Dangerbears Scrappy -- a surprise companion with Claude. :D (Becky Chase of Dangerbears.
Claude and Scrappy together. :) Xteddy and "bear" together. Just "bear" by himself.
Lawrence -- from Dangerbears N/A N/A

Dog on Wheels

Whilst not teddy bears, I have a liking for dog on wheels. These toys were popular during the war and early 1950s, and are hard to get ahold of.

Front view of DOW Side view of DOW -- note the hair loss; someone sat on him over time. :)