C & M's Bearhugs

The Bear workshop at Patchings


Hi, and welcome to our website. On this page we want to introduce you to the team behind C & M’s Bearhugs.

Photo of bear display at the studio Our primary bear maker is Maria, a Hungarian ex-pat with a chequered past that includes a degree in computer programming, two children, pottery, primary school teacher, and porcelain doll making, before finding her spiritual home making unique artist teddy bears. She has been a full time teddy bear artist since the turn of the Century (Christmas 1999), and is currently based at a studio at the renowned Patchings Art Centre. Here she designs and makes her creations, runs courses on the art of teddy bear making, and tutors at the children’s activity courses run by Patchings during the school holidays. Maria can be found in her studio Wednesdays, Thursdays and weekends, and she is always happy to meet new people, answer questions about bear making, and just have a chat (the bears get a bit lonely too!)
In a highly subordinate position, is Claire, Maria’s daughter. She is a PhD Biochemistry graduate working in Swansea for Current Bio Data. In order to supplement her meagre student means during her first degree, Claire began making miniature bears, before rediscovering her old hobby of beadwork, and developing it to start making special jewellery and ornaments. She has her own website to show a little more of her jewellery and beadwork, which will (hopefully) include tutorials for those interested in taking up beadwork themselves! She still makes the occasional bear.
Claire originally wrote this website, but due to the unreasonable demands of her course (such as attending lectures, and meeting deadlines) found that she didn’t have the time to maintain the website. At this point Maria’s husband, John, stepped into the breach, and took over the maintenance of the website. However, John still lets Claire write this page in order to let her feel useful.
This year Maria entered Gone Fishin' in the prestigious Teddy Bear Scene EVAs Bare Bear category, and was delighted to win. This meant a family trip to the Event of the year at Alexandra Palace to see the results, and spend too much money on a couple of additions to our own hugs. This was the last year Maria could participate in the 'making bears for less than three years' class, next years entry will be in the 'making bears for more than three years' class.
As more people have become aware of our presence, both at Patchings, and on the web, we’ve got to meet many more bear lovers. Whilst many of our bears still find their new homes in the British Isles, we’ve been delighted to sort out passports for the more adventurous, globe-trotting bears, and sending them to exotic locations such as New Mexico and New Zealand (well, exotic to those of us who live in the rainy English countryside). We’ve had to hone our undercover skills as we’ve assisted husbands (and wives!) in surprising their spouses. This has involved “stretching” the truth about whether or not a bear has been sold, receiving clandestine phone calls to arrange delivery, and on one occasion a late night visit to a hotel restaurant to deliver one of our bears (wearing his tux!) to be the guest of honour at a birthday celebration!
Many of our bears stay in touch after they’ve been adopted. Among our more regular correspondents are Armstrong (currently researching for his first novel), Ivan (who’s taken to football so much his new family have to have it on to see the results, even though none of them follow it), and Donovan (who writes to whinge about the excessive amount of hugging, and lack of presence on our website which he feels should be called Donovan’s Bearhugs).

P.S. For those of you wondering about Maria’s other child. He’s called Robert, and graduated in Mathematical Physics from Edinburgh University. He is now working as a department manager at Sainsburys near Sheffield. Well, every family has to have one black sheep.

C&M Bearhugs Logo

Maria can be contacted at Maria Crouchley

Website http://www.bearhugs.co.uk