A Celebration of Bears Takes 2nd Place

The entry titled A Celebration of Bears by the Winnipeg Embroiderers’ Guild and Brandon Stitchers was awarded 2nd place in the Seminar Group Project category at the 2023 Members’ Exhibition. Seminar Group Project winners are decided by popular vote.

From their entry statement:

A gathering of polar bears is called a celebration. This entry celebrates the fact that even during the isolation of COVID lockdowns, we stayed in touch and remained creative. Polar bears symbolize Canada’s north and evoke strength, beauty and resilience. What better symbol to represent our recent struggles with COVID isolation?

The pattern is from a 2009 issue of Embroidery Canada. The designers are Judy Carlson, Pat Armour and Christy Thomasson. The bears are constructed of white felt to look like polar bears, and the colours used for the embroidery mimic the northern lights and the vegetation of the tundra.

Polar bears are survivors and are currently facing many environmental challenges. We, too, faced challenges during COVID, both mental and physical and often struggled to keep engaged with our stitching and with each other. Like bears waking from hibernation, we celebrate our survival, fortitude and creativity.

There were no restrictions to decorating one’s bears; just have fun! Participants were encouraged to make more than one and to make each bear different. There is a wide variety of colour choices, stitching techniques and embellishment.

Each stitcher was given a copy of the pattern and the option to use the provided acrylic felt or their own felt, acrylic or wool blend. Each stitcher provided their threads, beads or other embellishments and chose their techniques.

Working independently due to COVID restrictions against gathering together, each stitcher produced unique interpretations of the project. Indeed, each bear is different from its friends, a one-of-a-kind collection. Thirty-four stitchers worked independently during the COVID lockdown and produced 193 bears! This proved a fun way to stay creative. Being small, completing one bear, and even many more was easy!

Quick and Fun Project: Polar Bears

The pattern and instructions for these fun-sized bears is available to EAC/ACB members in My EAC/Mon ACB under Free Projects for Members.

The exhibition was just part of the activities at Seminar 2023: The Stitch Goes On/Le point continue. Held in Winnipeg, MB, the 2023 event also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Embroiderers’ Association of Canada/Association canadienne de broderie.

Showing 2 comments
  • ksturton

    This is great – its just like being back at Seminar. I too was impressed with the Group Project – Bird – the stitching was wonderful and inspiring. The design and form was very impressive, well done ladies.
    The bears, of which each of us in attendance received one, were wonderful to look at and each one was different. Thank you Winnipeg!

    • Kathryn

      There were so many fantastic group projects on display. It was hard to choose one to vote for!

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