Next Wednesday ( 24th Sept 4-7.30) at Solva Woollen Mill I will be launching two books. One is Something About a Bear, written and illustrated by me, published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. The other is Cat Walk, written by me and illustrated with photographs also taken by me and published by Graffeg.
For years bears have been creatures that have roamed my imagination, wandered in and out of my paintings. You can read more about the book and how it came about on another blog post, for now I want to talk a little about Hauser bears and the book launch in Solva Woollen Mill. As part of the launch we are having a raffle, to raise money for Hauser Bears. The prize is the small painting of a bear.
The mission of Hauser bears is to protect bears in the wild and also work for the welfare of captive animals. And the bears do need as much help as they can get. It comes as a surprise to many that bear baiting still takes place in the world. This is the tip of a cruel iceburg when it comes to man’s relationship with these beautiful creatures. There is a trade still in live animals, there is caged hunting where animals are trapped and released to be shot, trophy hunting and the killing of bears for ‘medicine’, bear bile farming, the use of bears for tourism, dancing bears, the list is endless and even the smallest amount of research is enough to make you weep.
Very soon I will be lucky enough to be working with Five Sisters Zoo in Scotland. Here they have three bears, Suzy, Peggy and Carmen. These three have been rescued from a circus in Belgium and now live in the enclosures at the zoo. Watching film of the three will bring tears to the eyes. I am hoping to take the three bears some honeycomb.
Hauser Bears work to rescue bears from terrible conditions and give them better lives, but also to work with wild bears and other creatures who share the wild habitat with the bears all around the world. You can learn so much more about them by looking on their website.
You can come along, bring friends, have fun, bring a bear, get books signed, buy raffle tickets. Here’s an invite, please share and add yourself and comments to the page.
If you can’t come you can still take part by purchasing a copy of the book. When you order a book online from Solva Woollen Mill you can add a dedication. Each book purchased gives you entry into a competition to win the tiny painting of Mary’s Brother, a spectacle bear from South America.
The team at Solva Mill will post out books to anywhere in the world, and their website is worth a browse around. The mill itself is a beautiful working woollen mill in a glorious valley where otters swim and buzzards circle overhead.
So why the big paws? Well, the final painting in Something About a Bear is a brown bear with her paws up in the air. I imagined that it could work to give children an idea as to the size of a bear. You put your paw on the bear’s paw and you can almost feel the size of the bear grow around you. Very few can resist the chance to hi five a bear! The claws are as long as the child’s fingers, the paws as big as a dinner plate, and these are the paws of a small bear. If the bear feeds on salmon it could be almost twice as big as that! Imagine.
And here’s a look around the inside of the book, with Mary, and a film of Mary listening to the story.
So, come and join us to celebrate bears and help to raise money for Hauser Bears, and I will be sure to take lots of photos when I visit the three bears in Five Sisters, and give them your love.
The bears are gathering. And with them a small ginger impostor ( all created buy the mistress of mayhem at Celestine and the Hare.). Come and play.