2011 – The Congleton Year of the Bear!
For 6 months in the Summer of 2011 the streets, buildings, schools and public sites came to life with the sight of 76 five foot bears, all individually decorated by young and old alike. A bear trail map linked them all together.
A town the size of Congleton had never hosted an event such as this and over 26000 people visited the bears between May and October.
Bearmania, through the efforts of the local schools, businesses and volunteers raised over £10,000 for local and international charities. Congleton Beartown Ltd, a group made up entirely of dedicated volunteers donated enough money to rescue a Moon Bear from the hideous exploitation of bile farming and Bosley Bear is now living safely in a sanctuary in Vietnam.
Some of the Bears can still be spotted around town and occasionally come out to play!
Bears on Parade !
View our carousel of Bears! Just click on the arrows left and right to view the bears. You can also click on the individual picture for a larger image and short description of who sponsored the Bear and artist. Each bear also has a number this relates to the bears position around the town, you can download the bear trail here.
Media Coverage of Congleton Bearmania
Congleton Beartown’s Bearmania got off to a ripping start, with a preview on the 18th May and a full scale launch on the 21st. The successful launch was featured on BBC TV and Granada TV featured Bear Mania. Silk FM also covered the launch day.
If you go down to the Town Today
Bearmania really has become a community event. Local schools have been central to Bearmania and to celebrate the launch 1,500 performed at Congleton Town Hall for the launch of the cultural arts festival on the 18th.
“A fantastic day – amazing how a community spirit can bring young and old together, sharing the love and appreciation of a great town.”
Just one of the songs that the Children of Congleton sang at our Bearmania launch. Why not join in!
If you go down to the Town today
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the Town today
You’d better go in disguise.
For Every bear that ‘s been painted by us
will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the painted bears have their picnic
Picnic time for painted bears;
The Painted bears are having a lovely time today.
Watch us catch them unawares
And see them picnic on their holiday
See them gaily spread about
They love to play and shout
They never have any cares.
In October their mummies and daddies
Will take them home to bed
Because they are tired painted Teddy Bears.
Meet Billy Hyland, our sculptor
The technique he uses is the one Degas perfected with his ‘Little Dancer’ at the Tate (one of the three most famous pieces of sculpture in the world). Degas began with a wire armature to support the figures – imagine coathanger wire. He also used wood internally to support the weight during the sculpting process. At that time, most sculptors applied clay to the base structure, but Degas used wax – a bit like candle wax. That’s the approach Billy uses. With fine instruments and dental burners for softening small areas at a time, he builds the figure up and slowly creates textures such as flesh, fur or feathers. From the finished wax figure, just likeDegas, he creates a mould that can be used more than once. That’s why you can see the Little Dancer in the Louvre, the Tate and the Metropolitan Museum, New York.