Here at The Artful Bear every single bear (or bunny) is made by hand; with love and a true passion for my craft - meaning that they have a whole lot of love to give back.
Each is 100% unique and created from the finest German mohair and alpaca fabrics; always either Steiff or Helmbold.
We also offer a vintage 'upcycling' service. Have you recently inherited an old fur coat that you have no idea what to do with.....well, why not breathe new life into it by having it skilfully created into a bear with real personality.
(This handsome gentleman is made from upcycled vintage mink).
This is Edward - he is one of our gorgeous 'one of a kind' bears created using vintage upcycled fabric (in his case, 1950's mink).
He is a lovely chap, but didn't want to live in Scotland in the cold and rain - and who can blame him.
If, like me, you've followed 'Escape to the Chateau' since the very first Episode - you will recognise Edward's various rooms of choice, including the super fabulous 'Salon'
My name is Vivienne McBride; and from as early as I can remember, I have LOVED bears!! Something about their little faces, and how each has their very own personality never fails to tug at my heartstrings. That’s why I’m delighted to be able to bring to you my handmade creations at ‘The Artful Bear’ from miniature 3.5″ bears to 2.5 foot tall; and everything in between – I love to see their little personalities emerge.
I am a true lover and creator of art in many forms; be it photography, pottery, silversmithing the list goes on; but as soon as I laid eyes on my first ever bear creation, I knew that this was what I wanted to do (a complete change from my previous, somewhat stressful, life as a successful wedding florist for 12 years) and so, The Artful Bear was born!
My bears are mainly made using the finest Steiff Schulte mohair and alpaca fabrics; with a good measure of love, care and attention to detail. Each is weighted, fully jointed and sees the world through vintage hand-blown glass eyes; each and every one having hand embroidered features; the ethos being to produce very special bears that evoke emotions of nostalgia for those long-lost childhood friends of a bygone era.
However, I am increasingly being asked by my customers to create specially commissioned bears from real fur; perhaps an inherited mink or rabbit fur coat that once belonged to their Mum! I DO NOT condone the fur trade in the slightest and would NEVER buy new fur; but I do feel that it is much better to recycle these vintage garments than dispose of them – making them into something beautiful once again – and breathing new life into them. I take great pleasure in creating these special bears – especially since it provides my customers with a true ‘bearloom’; a lasting momento of someone very dear to them.
I like to think if my bears could talk, they would be like Paddington. Well spoken, polite and always trying to help others….even if they did get into mischief along the way!
From Pandas to Polar Bears and not forgetting traditional teddies and cute bunnies; fully dressed in vintage fabrics and hand-knits or just with the bear necessities, there is sure to be something for everyone. Perfectly unique Collectors’ items or special gifts guaranteed to surprise and delight their new forever humans, of all ages.
I love my new vocation and watching my little bears come to life is nothing short of magical. It really is dream come true being able to do this as a job; and it gives me a real sense of pride that something I have made; gifted say, to a child as a keepsake, will most likely be around long after I’m gone – passed down through generations as my lasting legacy.
Watch out for The. Prof. on his travels throughout the summer (Scottish weather permitting, of course) - to see what adventures he gets up to.
He loves nothing more than visiting a country house
(or castle), exploring the gardens and then joining us for a spot of lunch.
He is a bear who knows EXACTLY where he wants to be in the world!
"Simply beautiful handmade bears; full of personality and character. The individual atttention to detail is fantastic and the bears are irresistible."
"What can I say about these bears. You tilt their heads and look into their eyes; and trust me, they will talk to you!" They are bears with the biggest hearts - The Artful Bear - no other bear can compare!"
"He is very well made and has the sweetest expression. I can't stop looking at him. He makes me happy and makes me smile. All Viv's creations have beautiful faces and lovely accessories. You will not be disappointed if you buy or receive one of these wonderful creatures."
"Quality handmade bears, weighted and fully jointed with the boys dressed in hand-knitted jumpers and scarves; the girls wearing handmade dresses and hand-knitted mohair cardigans. No two are the same, and happy to know that these bears will stand the test of time for future generations.
A unique opportunity to give my grandchildren something which will be remembered long after we are gone!"
"I needed a special bear for the birthday of our great niece. I initially looked to buy a Steiff bear but couldn't find just what I wanted. Having looked everywhere I was sent a picture of the bears from The Artful Bear. We are all thrilled with our purchase. Our little bear is so beautiful; she was far better than I ever hoped.
Viv you are a very talented lady and I look forward to seeing more of your work. These bears are truly made with love!"
"Words cannot express how much our Paco Bear means to us. We feel complete again; as we can see Paco living within your wonderful creation. We will treasure him for the rest of our lives; thank you from the bottom of our hearts for what you have given us back - our boy.
We are getting so much comfort from having him back with us - on his spot on the sofa. You are a very talented lady and we will be forever grateful x"
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