Realistic bears of distinction

News Headlines:
2023 – The end is nigh!! - Saturday, December 17, 2022

Welcome to the online home of Bear Bits, the premier source of beautiful, award winning, realistic bears designed and made by the internationally renowned team of Jean And Bill Ashburner who specialise in their exceptional natural designs for polar bears; Asian moon bears; pandas; black, brown and grizzly bears etc. as well as the occasional Rare Bits (the bunnies) and a few traditional teddy bears. If you'd like to see our latest product range, take a look at our online product catalogue.

We hope you will find this site useful and informative, and we hope you'll visit often. This website is best viewed using Internet Explorer 4 or above, at screen resolutions of 800x600 and upwards, and ideally at a colour depth of 24bit. If you have any comments regarding the site, please contact the webmaster.

We are members of the British Toymakers Guild and see the bottom of this page for the awards we have won.  

2023 – The end is nigh!! Posted Saturday, December 17, 2022 by Bill

OK sorry for the drama – a bit OTT (over the top) but hopefully attention grabbing! 2023 means 30 years of Bear Bits! Our first ‘professional’ fair was the Winter BearFest, 1993, run by Hugglets in London. Since then, we’ve made bears for collectors and shops, both in the UK and overseas, made collections for British and International Fairs and won awards by creating the more natural designs for which we are well known. Bear Bits became truly international and our bears have found homes all over the world!

Before 2010 we mostly lived from bear to mouth; the bears paid the bills, but since then, the number we’ve been making each year has gradually reduced - to about 50 per year now. Being realistic, 2023 will probably be our last. We will both be 75 and so far, things like eyesight, hands and fingers have held up - fingers crossed!

Each bear made in 2023 will have a special “30 Years Anniversary” certificate in addition to the usual labels. We cannot predict what we will be able to make because, as usual, it will depend on the fabric available but there will be some very special bears. Please get in touch if you would like one of them. There will be information on the website and an email mailing list. Thank you. Jean and Bill

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Much as we used to enjoy attending fairs and meeting everyone, now that we are 80 percent retired and live in the North of Scotland, sadly, we no longer attend any. However, we still make to order.



Below is a list of shops that we supply to.

    • The Bear Garden (Guilford ) 01483 302581

    • Teddy Bears of Witney (Exclusives only) (Witney (Oxfordshire)) 01993 706616


      The first professional fair that we did was The Winter BearFest in 1993. Since then, Bear Bits bears have been entered in 19 competitions, so we didn’t enter every year. Whenever we have entered a competition, we have made ourselves a rule that our entry must include either a technique or change of style that we have not included in any previous competition so the entry was always a development of design or technique. Whenever we entered, we were either winners or the runners up - we always aimed for our bears to be of the highest quality and our success gave us credibility in a very competitive market.

      Below is a list of the awards we have won.

        2017 - The Lifetime Achievement Award at Teddy Bear Total in Munster

        Awarded by Sebastian Marquardt and Glenn and Irene Jackman of Hugglets for 24 years of making many, many bears, attending fairs, and 16 years of running workshops so spreading both enthusiasm and skill! This was most unexpected as we had never thought of ourselves as having made a valuable contribution to the wonderful world of teddy bears!

        2015 Golden George - Piqa was one of the final 3 nominees in the Master Class Category 5 Nature Bears and finally judged as runner up to Masaya Sato’s entry.

        2014 Golden George - Polar Moon was the winner in Master Class category 5 - Nature Bears

        2013 Excellence in Bear Artistry - Winner - Tableaux class

        2013 French Teddy Awards - Hanging On II won second place in the Group category.

        2013 Golden George - Peter was the winner again in the Realistic Bears class

        2012 Excellence in Bear Artistry - Winner - Realistic Animals and Bears class with Peter, a realistic brown bear.

        French Teddy Awards - Peter also won the Realistic Bears class in this competition!

        National Teddy Bear Artist Awards – Winner – Teddy Bear Friends Class with a very special Hare (hares are a new development and since the first one, late 2011, we have been tweaking the pattern to improve it). We were awarded 2nd place in the Panda Class for our 40cm alpaca panda, including a subtle open mouth (this was the first time we had used our open mouth design on a bear smaller than 56cm). Please see the 2012 archive and the Bears page (click top right of this page)

        2011 National Teddy Bear Artist Awards – Winner – Natural Bear Class and BEST IN SHOW!! Arthur (see 2011 Archive) was made from an extremely luxurious, very dense, plush fabric – 30mm long pile, with a lot of movement and a contrasting mid brown mohair was been used for his muzzle and inner ears, blended with subtle airbrushing. Arthur’s nose was embroidered in a more complex way than usual and he had an open mouth.

        2007 Readers Choice Awards, Teddy Bear Scene – Winner – Bare Bear Class – I’ve got a Secret (Maks - a large, fully detailed realistic bear made from long pile cream synthetic faux fur with black mohair inserts to the muzzle and inner ears and needle sculpted pads and 8in Minim – the smallest realistically shaped bear with double neck joint and proper paw pads made by us to date.

        2006 Readers Choice Awards, Teddy Bear Scene – Winner – Bare Bear Class – Happiness is a Hug (A large detailed realistic bear with airbrushed shading, holding a 4in teddy and a 4in bunny in its paws)

        2004 Readers Choice Awards, Teddy Bear Scene – Winner – Bare Bear Class – Safety Zone (A mother polar bear and her cub - the cub was the smallest to date with a realistically embroidered nose, a double neck joint, wrist joints and 3D pads)

        2002 British Bear Artist Awards – Winner – Group Class 17in and above – Where’s my Teddy? (A large brown mother bear with 2 smaller cubs, all very detailed and a 4in teddy bear.

        2002 British Bear Artist Awards – Winner – Individual Class 17in and above – The Caramel Bear (a large light brown bear with wrist and ankle joints, needle sculpted 3D pads, a very complex embroidered nose, fabric dyed on the reverse to reveal the darker shading where the pile was trimmed on head and inner ears)

        2001 British Bear Artist Awards – Runner up – Group Class 12-17in Ice Bear Family (A mother polar bear with 2 cubs all with double neck joints, drop paws, wrist joints and 3D pads. The mother polar had a more complex detailed embroidered nose than previously

        1999 British Bear Artist Awards – Winner – Group Class 12-17in – A Celebration of Bears (4 natural bears – black bear, grizzly, polar and panda – each with a double neck joint and an asymmetric joint in each ankle so they could each sit, stand, kneel and lie out)

        1999 British Bear Artist Awards – Nominated/Finalist – Individual Class 12-17in – Panda (An accurately marked panda with double neck joint)

        1997 British Bear Artist Awards – Nominated/Finalist - Group Class 17in and above – Stuff and Nonsense. (Stuff – a large life-like bear with a realistically embroidered nose, Trapunto pads and very natural looking long claws – Nonsense – a 1920’s “flapper” with eyelids, eyelashes, a feather boa and head dress.

        1996 British Bear Artists Awards – Winner - Group Class 12-17in – A Week of Bears. (7 different styles and sizes of bears including a teddy bear, a character bear, a ballet dancing bear, a panda, a bent legged bear and a realistic bear.



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