Woodland Teddies are designed and created by me, Rita Harwood.   That's me below (picture taken a few years ago)  feeding some of my cats

I was born in Feb 1951 in London and have collected teddies and other soft furries for almost as long. I have always enjoyed art, making things and needlework so I guess that it isn't that surprising that I have designed and created things in my spare time.

I have collected bears for as long as I can remember, but I didn't start making them until late 1996 after visiting the Hugglets show in Kensington and desperately wanting a bear I couldn't afford.  Once I had made one, I was hooked!  At the time I was teaching computer science to university level students so it was very much something I could only do in my limited spare time and progress was quite slow.

I was designing my own right from the start though initially they were very traditional. But my love of cats led me to experiment and by 99 I had made my first feline which I took to a show to ask a bear artist for an opinion and ended up with Teddy Bear Club International asking for a picture, that led to me being persuaded to enter a competition and at the end of the year I received my first award but I didn't know anything about the bear business so while it gave me many nice swaps, it was another couple of years before I gained enough confidence, experience and courage to try to make something more of this wonderful pastime.

Today Woodland Teddies and art fill my life, I design and create everything you see here and for a number of years I was also the Creative Editor for Teddy Bear Scene where I wrote features and offered patterns, advice and assistance to readers. I also still keep my hand in with computers by designing and maintaining one or two web sites and I draw when I am not doing any of this.

I adore all things soft and cuddly particularly one of life's most beautiful of all furry creations - the cat, so I naturally share my home with two fabulous felines and a house full of furry creations both mine and those of others artists which includes bears, cats, dogs, rabbits,  birds, frogs, dragons and the occasional monster some of which I have made using polymer or air drying clay.

I collect all types of furry creatures and have over 400 with new ones joining all the time so I am still not opposed to creating a Woodland Teddy as a swap or to offer in part exchange, as long as you don't mind the wait so if you make bears you think I might like why not email me or give me a call on 01509 267597 and who knows we could arrange something that we can both enjoy.