Hello …….my name is Michele Partridge and I have a real passion for all things bear – I love collecting them and I especially love making and designing my own – I have been involved in the bear world for about 18 years now ……I have always had a passion for making things and sewing as well as knitting – I can remember when I was 11 years old I designed my own pattern for a cuddly elephant and I would make a few each night until I had about 12 of them which I donated to my school fete to make funds for the school – they sold like hot cakes ……. and I was asked to make some more for the next event.
The first thing I did when I discovered bears is I bought a kit and made my first mohair bear – I was not that pleased with the end result so I drew out my own pattern – I also bought a few books for guidance and found the whole process quite straight forward …..it seemed a very natural thing for me.
About a year later I decided to enter a competition – it was quite prestigious called “The British Bear Artist Awards” run by a magazine in the UK (Sussex) called Teddy Bear Times (www.teddybeartimes.com) …..it was 2002 and I went along to the Awards Ceremony being held in Brighton, Sussex – to my surprise I won “Category 14” Best Bear Overall – this was from a competition that was worldwide
I was really blown away and this was the beginning of a wonderful journey for me of bear making, it gave me the encouragement and confidence to continue to evolve and to make my bears to the best of my ability ……… I since went on to win two more awards also BBAA awards – one in 2005 (Category 4 – Undressed Bear) and one in 2011 (Undressed Bear – 3rd place).
Ever since then I still make and design my own bears and I now have a following on Facebook and Instagram and have connected with many wonderful bear collectors and other artists worldwide ……its just been a wonderful hobby so far and I hope to continue to do this for as long as I am able. I couldnt imagine not making bears or getting my fabric fix ……also I love to collect bears – I especially love other artist bears and feel it is wonderful thing to support each other and I appreciate the art and work that go’s into making each one.
When I first started out making bears I called them after my firstborn son “Bradley Bears” so a lot of collectors might remember me under that name but since then I decided to re-invent myself and I now go under the name of Soul Sparkles as I wanted to think of something more connected to my spiritual side – so far so good – I have been connecting with lots of like minded spiritual people which has been lovely …….
I now am preparing for the next adventure in my life which will be The Bears Mart Website – I had this amazing dream that there would be a User Friendly Website out there for all bear lovers and makers where we could put little film clips on if we wanted and even auction things …..I am so excited that my dreams are now becoming reality and I am looking forward to The Bears Mart evolving into something absolutely amazing ……
I also wanted to personally thank “Sharron Roe” from Bears of Eastwood for giving us permission to use her lovely little Panda Bear in our logo – much appreciated.