I, Samantha Potter, make miniature bears, whilst my Mum, Marie Wood, makes miniature dolls. My Mum has been making her dolls for many, many years, and ever since I was little she has encouraged me to be creative. I joined her under the name Mary Myrtle Miniatures when I was 15 years old, and began selling my miniature bears alongside her dolls. I graduated from university at the age of 21 and worked as a Sign Language Interpreter for three years, I now make my bears full time.
My husband Alan and I met whilst at university. Having never heard of an artist bear before we met, Alan has since thrown himself whole-heartedly into the 'bear world' and accompanies me to all my fairs. In November 2011 our son Joseph William arrived, and I am already enjoying the fact that I can enjoy being a full-time Mum, aswell as continue to make my bears.
I have been very lucky to have won some prestigious awards for my bears over the last few years, which I find really encouraging. I love selling my bears at fairs, as it gives me the opportunity to meet the collectors, and my bears have also allowed me to make online friends from all over the world.
I organise an artist-only fair in Stratford-upon-Avon in June each year, which has so far raised over £4000 for the British Heart Foundation. For more details about the next event, please have a look at the website: www.teddybearartistevent.co.uk
My aunt, Helen Czyzyk, has recently begun
to knit for my bears. She designs and hand knits the miniature
clothing herself, and I am in awe of her ability to knit so beautifully
on such a small scale.
Mary Myrtle is actually the name of my great-grandmother, who was a talented needle-woman. Although my Mum never got to meet her, she has always said that she must get her needlework talents from her grandmother. My Mum decided that she would trade under a family name, rather than her own name, when she first started selling her dolls, with the idea that it would not exclude other family members from joining the business at any time.