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ThomasAdam Thomas Adam
Southampton
Posts: 310
Website

Hello all,

I've a number of books on teddy bears (another hobby of mine -- I love anything to do with teddy bears), and in almost all of the books I have, they touch on the concept of the psychological power of teddy bears.

The study of the healing properties of teddy bears is nothing new.  Leading scientists have known for ages how children react to teddy bears -- going as far as to use them to help comfort children for pre-op jitters in hospital, etc.  And then again, during the secod world war. teddy bears were sent along with evacuees for comfort.

So I am curious if others here like teddy bears because they identified with how strong a reaction they felt as a child.  Indeed, for me, the teddy bear is very important due to my anxiety suffering -- I always carry a teddy bear with me incase I have a panic attack and need a cuddle; the teddy bear calms me down.  :)

If your answer is "yes" to this -- has this influenced the way you design/make your teddy bears, out of interest?

Explain/discuss -- ten points.  :)

-- Thomas Adam

dangerbears Dangerbears
Wisconsin
Posts: 5,986
Website

An interesting question Thomas.

As you mention, you're not alone in carrying a bear to help with anxiety. Was it in WWI when soldiers went into battle with little "mascot bears" in their coat pockets?

For me, my love of bears is an extension of my love of all kinds of stuffed animals, which in turn is related to my love of real animals. (They probably reinforced each other as I was growing up.)

I guess that this does affect my bear designs in that I like bears (cats. dogs, etc.) that I feel comfortable picking up, holding on my lap as I nervously watch presidential election returns, or even taking to bed to help me fall asleep. (Like you, Thomas, I find it very relaxing to hug a bear.) If the bear is really shelf art - with an exquisite outfit or extensive ornamentation around its neck - I can appreciate it, but I personally don't enjoy it as much.

I'd love to hear what others say about this! There are so many different sorts of bears out there. There must be many different feelings about them, too.

Becky

DebbieD Posts: 3,540

bear_original  I'm another who has teddy bears for sleeping with, and others for hanging out watching tv with.  I've always been a diehard animal lover, so the bridge between stuffed and real was forged long ago.   bear_wub  bear_wub 

When it comes to my bears, the cuddle capacity was a huge focus for my first designs.  I made my larger bears non jointed and roughly the size of a baby, so 18" (lol, okay, I mean a several months old baby  bear_laugh ).  The 'just right' weight and cuddle capacity was what I aimed for.  It wasn't something I measured, I just knew it once I could feel it was the right weight. 

I sold several of those bears and they went to homes with cancer survivors, and a beautiful cerebral palsey girl got a one of a kind bear from me.  It was a new design with longer, more angular arms, and when they placed it on her, it curved perfectly to her, giving her a hug  bear_wub   

As my teddy bears have evolved, I was told I needed to joint my bears if I wanted more money, and they had to be this and that to be more desirable.  I still continued to create what I wanted, but grudgingly let go my larger non jointed designs.  They sit collecting dust  bear_sad   

My smaller bears are still very healing and soothing, as I continued to strive for that in all my bears.  But let's face it, sitting and cuddling a small bear is not exactly the same as being able to give a big ole bear hug  bear_happy

EvaJ EJ's Crafts
Fort Mohave, Arizona
Posts: 829

I have always loved teddy bears from the time of was a small child.   When I started making bears 30 years ago, I decided I wanted to make bears for the child in all of us.  Almost all my bears are made child safe and of faux furs and most have smiley faces.  Every child I feel should be able to have something to cuddle so I continue to make affordable bears that can be handled and loved by anyone who wants the comfort of a bear.  I do joint my bears and these are the locking plastic joints.  They work well and can not be pulled apart.  (If you ever make a mistaken, they have to be cut out....this I know from experience bear_grin )  This also helps because if the bear gets wet there is nothing to rust or fall apart.  I want people to pick up my bears and cuddle them and this gives me great joy when I see how much they love the feel of holding a teddy bear.

millie PottersHouse Bears
Ohio
Posts: 2,173

I have always had friends in the animal kingdom.  Even as a very small child my closest friends were animals.  The animals loved me just the way I was.  They didn't care if I was too skinny, or if I didn't fit someone's mold.  They still loved me.  My stuffed animals were my fantasy world.  Where I could dream of living with every kind of animal.  In this world my friends were bears, lions, horses, dogs etc. etc.  It was such a peaceful, loving place to retreat to.  They were always there to give and receive hugs.  They brought a smile to my face.  Now I make critters that hopefully bring smiles to many faces and are there to comfort those that just need a hug.

Tami E Tami Eveslage Original Teddy Bears
Milford Ohio
Posts: 2,367
ThomasAdam wrote:

Explain/discuss -- ten points.  :)

-- Thomas Adam

:crackup:

What a great discussion question! I collect Teddy books as well!

I received my childhood Teddy for my sixth birthday and I do credit him for my Teddy love! Out of all the Teddy Bears I have collected and made, he's the only one with a place of honor on my bed, and yes I do still sleep with him if my husband is out of town, or I am feeling ill or sad. When I go out of town, I always take a bear with me as well, although it is usually one I have made. 

One way my childhood Teddy has infuenced my designs is his size. My favorite size to make is Teddy Bube (pronounced boo'-bah) sized bear_wub My work is far from looking anything like him--he is beautiful to my eyes, but I certainly realize that he probably looks quite pitiful to anyone else. Even so, the feelings he evokes certainly influence my work. I love to use dense cuddly furs because I want to creat a bear that is a joy to hold as well as to behold.

I have made bears for my sons, my nieces and nephews, and occasionally for a collector's child or grandchild. When I do, I still use the finest materials and craftsmanship that I can, so I want the gift to be cherished differently than a department store bear, but I am always a little sad when the parents say, "Oh, no, she will not be allowed to play with this..." I think , "then the bear will never really be loved"

P.S. My Teddy philosophy shows in my signature quote!

Carolynn Teenytinyteddybears
Posts: 444

Thomas you have really got me thinking. I got my first bear when I was a baby. But he was a big and very hard bear, so not cuddly. I had a rabbit and a golly that I loved literally to death. I remember being comforted by the fact that my bear watched over me though. Which then I guess makes sense that I love having my mini bears around even though I cant cuddle them. They just are there. I do have one my hubby bought me last year that I can cuddle. But I do talk to and rearrange my bears daily.

It has taken me a while to admit to myself that even in adulthood a teddy hug just works.  :hug:

danceswithteddybears Dances With Teddy Bears
Pacific Northwest
Posts: 697

Great question, Thomas!
I never had a teddy bear growing up.  I wish I had.  My childhood was very rough, I was abused.  A teddy bear would have been a welcome friend.
But now I have a houseful!  I started collecting about 30 years ago, but unintentionally.  I bought one on a whim.  I fell so in love with it that I bought another and another.  Now I'm adding my own teddys to my menagerie.
I agree, they are comforting, especially in time of need.  They are very patient and listen to all our ramblings.  They also speak to us.  They are more human than some humans I know.
I will never ever again be without a teddy bear!
Thanks for such a thought provoking question.
   :hug:
PS  I make teddys for the child in me, to help that child heal.  To let her know she need never be alone again. 
As my style evolves I notice I'm leaning toward teddys with big welcoming eyes.  Eyes that say I love you, I'm here for you, hug me.

Bubble-Up Bears Bubble Up Bears!
Murrieta, California
Posts: 1,804

As a sick child I was given a teddy bear to help get me through all the pain and suffering. I had over 20 surgeries by the time I was 10. The doctors would even let me take my bear with me in to surgery. And this was the early sixties when often times parents were not even allowed to stay over night with their child. However I have a feeling once I was knocked out they removed him and then returned him to me before I woke. My name, Bubble Up Bears is based on an imaginary bear that I had as a child that literally saved my life. bear_original
When my Mother died the first thing I did was buy a bear for my heart broken daughter. In hopes that it would help her get through the pain a bit easier. Bears have always been an important part of my life.
My husband is a Police Detective and when he worked the Child Pornography Detail he had a trunk full of teddy bears. It was the first thing he handed a child before he even tried to talk to them.
So I think the teddy bear is a most important part of the human psyche. bear_original

Carolynn Teenytinyteddybears
Posts: 444

ok, now that we all admit we love our teddies. Can I ask something? Does anyone else get the impression that your bear has a different expression at different times?????

pandamac 'EmBears
Northern New York State
Posts: 917
Website

My Main reason for making Teddy Bears is my feeling that EVERYONE needs a cuddly animal to hug!

One of the best bears that got adopted was at an early show, I had only been making bears for a couple of years, a woman came into my booth with her Mom in a wheelchair. Mom had ad a stroke and did not show much emotion, movement, nothing. The woman took one of the bears, showed it to Mom. Mom tried to move and say something. The woman adopted the bear, I put the bear on Mom's shoulder so she could feel him. Mom laid her head down on the bear, smiled, and off they went.............

My Dad asked for his Bear when he came out of surgery. My great-niece has 'adopted' the Granddad bear I made for their family because she misses Great-Granddaddy sooooo much.

So much bear (and other stuffed critters) can do.......and yes, I feel thier expresions chance!

Ellen

WildThyme Wild Thyme Originals
Hudson, Ohio
Posts: 3,115

What a great topic Thomas!   :clap:

I had lots of teddies as a child, but one that I was particularly fond of... just a plain ol' cheapie that my grandparents bought me when I was born.  I used him as an outlet for all my hopes, dreams, fears, creativity... etc...  I used to act out various scenarios concerning how I felt about bullies, or practice asking someone if they wanted to play.  At  various times he was a ballerina, a mom, a teacher.... I threw him across the room if I was mad at my brother!  :twisted:    bear_cry  I got to try all out all these things through childish play acting before I had to attempt to do them in real life.  Well, I never did throw my brother across the room.... but maybe I would have if I didn't have that all-forgiving teddy to try it out on!   bear_innocent

I find that when I create my teddies now, espeically costumed/character teddies, they almost function in the same way... it's a way to act out my own little fantasy world and off the wall ideas without actually DOING it myself.  Hey... I'd LOVE to prance around in a glittery fairy skirt, or a gorgeous Elizabethan neck ruff, but I'd probably get a few strange looks at the grocery store!   bear_smile

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 19,912

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

danceswithteddybears wrote:

Great question, Thomas!
I never had a teddy bear growing up.  I wish I had.  My childhood was very rough, I was abused.  A teddy bear would have been a welcome friend.
...................................................................................

I agree, they are comforting, especially in time of need.  They are very patient and listen to all our ramblings.  They also speak to us.  They are more human than some humans I know.
I will never ever again be without a teddy bear!
Thanks for such a thought provoking question.
   :hug:
PS  I make teddys for the child in me, to help that child heal.  To let her know she need never be alone again. 
As my style evolves I notice I'm leaning toward teddys with big welcoming eyes.  Eyes that say I love you, I'm here for you, hug me.

I can relate to very much of what Laura has said.  I was allowed to have a dog while growing up and I poured out my sadness and heartache to my pet . . . she always understood and was my total comfort.  I've never been without some kind of furry friend(s) my entire life and I'm sure that's the reason I care about all animals so much.  I didn't pick up on that comfort from teddy bears until around 1996 when I was experiencing very troubling times (diagnosed with severe depression/post traumatic stress disorder) and bought a department store teddy that, by chance, had caught my eye.  From then on, I have moved one step at a time from collecting bears to becoming an artist.  There is no doubt in my mind about the therapeutic value of teddy bears . . . I firmly believe they were instrumental in literally saving my life those many years ago.  I just hope in some way that my bears can reach out to those who need warmth, comfort, and friendship.

eteddys eTeddys
Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 880
Website

I never had a teddy bear growing up.  I did have a doll named Sleepy.  She had cloth body that was pink with white polka dots.  One of my sister's colored all the dots blue!   :mad:

Most of you know, I have had a kidney transplant.  Well, my mom is my donor and I had to stay awake throughout her surgery.  It was a very nerve wracking few hours.  When it was my turn, they took me to the pre-op area and a nurse realized it was my birthday.  So, everyone sang me happy birthday and they gave me a teddy bear.  I'm certain that the bears were reserved for children having surgery, but I got one!  I held on to that thing for dear life.  I still have him, he's not too cute but sure made me feel better!  Ah, the power of the teddy. 

Hugs,
Alison

Bubble-Up Bears Bubble Up Bears!
Murrieta, California
Posts: 1,804

It would be great to see some of these teddy bears!! bear_original

ThomasAdam Thomas Adam
Southampton
Posts: 310
Website
dangerbears wrote:

As you mention, you're not alone in carrying a bear to help with anxiety. Was it in WWI when soldiers went into battle with little "mascot bears" in their coat pockets?

Yes -- but the emphasis was on the children; the evacuees.  I have all manner of teddy bear books here as well -- and one thing that's mentioned in some of them is one of the reasons why no teddy bears from verrry early on (1902 onwards) is most parents considered teddy bears to be traps for various diseases, so they sent dear teddy bear to heaven.  :'(

dangerbears wrote:

I guess that this does affect my bear designs in that I like bears (cats. dogs, etc.) that I feel comfortable picking up, holding on my lap as I nervously watch presidential election returns, or even taking to bed to help me fall asleep. (Like you, Thomas, I find it very relaxing to hug a bear.) If the bear is really shelf art - with an exquisite outfit or extensive ornamentation around its neck - I can appreciate it, but I personally don't enjoy it as much.

That's never really bothered me, although I am fortunate in that all of my teddy bears can receive hugs, but not all of them are soft enough to cuddle.  :)  But I still try anyway, hehe.

-- Thomas Adam

ThomasAdam Thomas Adam
Southampton
Posts: 310
Website
Bubble-Up Bears wrote:

As a sick child I was given a teddy bear to help get me through all the pain and suffering. I had over 20 surgeries by the time I was 10. The doctors would even let me take my bear with me in to surgery. And this was the early sixties when often times parents were not even allowed to stay over night with their child. However I have a feeling once I was knocked out they removed him and then returned him to me before I woke. My name, Bubble Up Bears is based on an imaginary bear that I had as a child that literally saved my life. :)
When my Mother died the first thing I did was buy a bear for my heart broken daughter. In hopes that it would help her get through the pain a bit easier. Bears have always been an important part of my life.
My husband is a Police Detective and when he worked the Child Pornography Detail he had a trunk full of teddy bears. It was the first thing he handed a child before he even tried to talk to them.
So I think the teddy bear is a most important part of the human psyche. :)

Awww, that sound so nice.  Although *sod* being a detective, I can't imagine the horrors involved with that.  I just hope the teddy bears provided enough hugs for him as they did the children to be honest.  :)

-- Thomas Adam

ThomasAdam Thomas Adam
Southampton
Posts: 310
Website
Bubble-Up Bears wrote:

It would be great to see some of these teddy bears!! :)

Well, mine are on my website.  (http://www.xteddy.org)

-- Thomas Adam

Bubble-Up Bears Bubble Up Bears!
Murrieta, California
Posts: 1,804

Nice teddy collection Thomas! :)
Honestly Thomas he had to leave the detail after 7 years because of all the horror he saw that was being done to children. He lasted 2 years longer than most Detectives. You can only imagine what these kids had done to them. There was only one little boy who was afraid of the teddy bear that was given to him but that was because one was used to hurt him.  bear_cry

Us Bears Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,479

I worked at FAO Schwarz when I was in college.  At first, the store was a small, boutique style shop on Boylston just a half a block from the Boston Public Garden.  Later on, the store was moved down the road to the corner of Berkeley.  The new store was 10 times the size of the old and covered two floors.

The flagship store was broken up into departments but, because I worked in the old store, I knew about all the departments.  Not just one.  My primary department was electronics, radio control cars and video games.  I could sell Legos, infant toys or plush just as well.

This is where I got my first Bear.  He is a FAO "Soldier Bear" by NABCO.  Up until I met Melanie he was my entire collection.
When we got married, Soldier Bear also married "Ellie Bear", one of Melanie's Bears from L.L. Bean.  Really!  The Bears were at our wedding.  They are in the pictures and everything.  :D

Now we have 1,000 Bears living with us.  Seriously!  Not kidding!  They are in every room of the house!

Why do we love Bears?  Well, all the things they say:  Soft, cuddly, good for hugging when you need support, good to talk to when you need a friend.  All those things.  But there's a little bit more than that.

Bears make very good emotional surrogates.  You can impose your emotions, which you might have a hard time expressing by yourself, upon a Teddy Bear.  If you feel bad, you can say, "The Bear is not having a good day."  If you are feeling happy, the Bear can jump for joy.

If you are peeved off at your spouse you can hold up a Bear and say, "He wants to know why you acted like that."
If you are sad but don't know how to say it, the Bear can tell your spouse what's wrong and it will be a little easier to express.

Our Bears buy us extra birthday and Christmas presents and cards.  When you get a gift from the Bears, you know there was some extra special thought put into the gift.

There is always a Bear sitting on the sofa with us when we watch TV.  Sometimes Bears might snuggle in bed.
Sometimes the Bear will turn to one of us and say, "Change the channel.  This is boring."  Sometimes he might say,"Hey!  Stop hogging all the covers!"

About a month ago, a whole, unopened bag of potato chips turned up missing.  Melanie asked me what happened to the chips.  I said, "I don't know...  The Bears must have got them!"

Yes, I did have a Bear when I was young.  He went to live with the Velveteen Rabbit before I was ready for him to go.  Maybe I have so many Bears now to compensate for the loss early on.  I don't know.  Just a guess.

Sure, I could collect coins or stamps or model cars but those things are cold and impersonal.  I suppose we could collect dolls but, to be very honest, hyper-realistic dolls just look macabre to me!  Baby dolls just aren't my style.

So...  If I'm going to collect something, why not Bears?  They're good company!  bear_original

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399
Website

When I see your collection of teddies, it is Paddington that reminds me why I love bears.  I also have a Paddington bear.  When I was growing up I loved the books.  They were my favorites.
You have some wonderful bears Thomas.
Joanne

EvaJ EJ's Crafts
Fort Mohave, Arizona
Posts: 829

A thousand bears WOW.  I probably only have two hundred, I never counted.  I know sometimes I will open a closet and then is a bear I haven't seen in a while and I have to get it out and hug it.  Poor baby has been in the dark.

I also say.......you can never have enough bears!

Clarebear Fulrfun Bears
Alice Springs
Posts: 503

I never had a bear when i was a child.  During my 20's and 30's i suffered from chronic illness and was very much alone with associated depression.  I went and bought a bear - commercial but very cuddly and it became my 'friend'.  At around the same time my friends children used to call me Clarebear (during the care bear phase) one day a friend bought me a book of bear patterns and said to me with a name like that you need to learn to make bears.  i had to learn to sew first but I have never looked back and I too have lots of bears that live in our house.  My husband also has a bear that goes in his truck with him and always comes on holidays with us.

ThomasAdam Thomas Adam
Southampton
Posts: 310
Website
desertmountainbear wrote:

When I see your collection of teddies, it is Paddington that reminds me why I love bears.  I also have a Paddington bear.  When I was growing up I loved the books.  They were my favorites.
You have some wonderful bears Thomas.
Joanne

Hehe, I love Paddington.  I have another Paddington which I bought from Paddington station in London, and I have a photo of me hugging the wax statue of Paddington which resides in Paddinton station [1].  :)

-- Thomas Adam

[1]  http://www.vagabondjourney.com/2008-1/0 … n-bear.jpg

ThomasAdam Thomas Adam
Southampton
Posts: 310
Website
Clarebear wrote:

I never had a bear when i was a child.  During my 20's and 30's i suffered from chronic illness and was very much alone with associated depression.  I went and bought a bear - commercial but very cuddly and it became my 'friend'.  At around the same time my friends children used to call me Clarebear (during the care bear phase) one day a friend bought me a book of bear patterns and said to me with a name like that you need to learn to make bears.  i had to learn to sew first but I have never looked back and I too have lots of bears that live in our house.  My husband also has a bear that goes in his truck with him and always comes on holidays with us.

Aww -- what's your husband's bear's name?  I never cared for Carebears myself -- way too girly and commercial for my liking.  Paddington Bear is where it's at, and remains, too [1].  :)

-- Thomas Adam

[1]  http://www.vagabondjourney.com/2008-1/0 … n-bear.jpg

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