The exceptional journey of “Lupie Bear”.

Friday, 10 June 2011When 11 year old Brooke  gave her inspiring talk to Lupus family and friends at The recent LAQ High Tea there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Her courage and her commitment to living a “normal” life was a lesson to all of us.Then at the end of this talk Brooke was presented with a very special gift, a hand crafted Cobbearie Orange Lupus Bear made by our own Ellie Skuse. By this stage the sniffles were very audible, and a number of people were visibly effected. The joy on Brookes face gives me some idea of why Ellie does all she does with her Cobbearie Bears. However it barely touches the surface of Ellies reason for  her Lovingly Handcrafted Gift Bears.I was curious about Ellies Bearmaking so I asked her to tell me her story. Here it is, and I hope you find it as inspirational as I did. By the end of Ellies story, and having seen a photo of one of her beautiful Cobbearie Bears, Angel, getting a well deserved hug by her new “mummie” I was in fact truly amazed at the love and sharing this special lady contributes every day.

Ellie said that when she was very ill in 2002 she was unable to work. Housebound and bored, she decided to make hand crafted unique Teddy Bears. With her first few Bears, according to Ellie,  there was many a disaster to start with. Starting from scratch, with no  Bear Makers willing to pass on or share their skills,and out in the “Bush” with no classes in Bear Crafting it was very much a steep learning curve.

When Her husband Pat could get her to Town Ellie would go to the Library and search all she could find on Bear Crafting.

Ellie said she  finally achieved some reasonable little bears. She also discovered in the process that she had been crafting her Bears in one of the most difficult materials to start with – acrylic furs. Had she started with Mohair she said her Bear Crafting would have been so much easier.

Ellie learnt of a Bear Show being held in Brisbane, and her husband Pat drove her down to it. At this stage Ellie was still unable to drive herself.

At this “Bear Fair” Ellie met Gerry from Gerry Bears, and was told to continue just as she was, as her bear making was truly unique! Gerry advised Ellie to attend a couple of different classes to make herself comfortable with her skills .

Ellie and Pat decided to call her venture Cobbearie.  Cob after their property Cobbers Homestead (Cobber meaning mate and open to all) with bearie added to the end. Two or more Bears are called a Hug, appropriate given how, why and where Ellies Bears end up.

Cobbearie Collectables were born! Ellie cannot count the  bears that have been made since then.

Her Cobbearie Babies are made for adopting by very special and precious people, as each one is purpose made to suit its new Owner and Hugging “Cobber”.

Cobbearies has made and donated bears to be raffled for numerous charities over the years including United Church, Artist Cottage, Artist Village, Lions Club, and Wild Life Carers.

Ellies Bears are also donated for raffles to raise money for Angel Flight, our own special Air Rescue Service in Australia. Ellie and Cobbearie Bears organised one of the biggest Bear Conventions ever to be held in the South Burnett Region, raising several thousands of Dollars for the Wondia Lions Club.

These Cobbearie Bears are now also made for Children that suffer from Crouzon (Ellie has a beautiful daughter with Crouzons) and Ellie is now making Cobbearies for Lupus. Brookes orange “Lupie Bear” is one of these.

When required, Ellie donates her time to Special Needs People, and has tutored Special Needs People iin sewing, painting and bear making.

Delving deeper, I found she had owned a craft shop for a number of years, but due to ill health had to give it up. She now has a studio at home and when well enough, holds Bear Crafting Classes. Ellie does not charge for this, but does it for the love of the bear making and to keep a traditional craft alive. She also teaches sewing, knitting and crochet, in addition to teaching  how to design and draft Bears.

Cobbearie Bears are often requested by people overseas, and Ellies Koala Cobbearies are uniquely different to those purchased in shops. Ellie currently has two Koala Cobbearies on the go for special people in England and America.

It takes Ellie several days, and  sometimes weeks to create a bear as the use of her hands is compromised by Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis, making using a needle painfully difficult.

Her  greatest delight is seeing the face of the people who receive her Bears. The joy it brings them is a reward in itself.

As she is a sentimentalist who believes the good things in life are the delights and joy you make in creating and giving  something special, Ellie is a truly joyous person, because she gives all of herself every day.

A Person with Lupus who contributes to such an extent deserves our thanks. There are many many more just like Ellie out there, giving of themselves, without strings attached, day after day, when others may want to curl up and hide. These Lupies are an inspiration. Elllie Skuse, I salute you.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Eleonora Skuse
    Jul 07, 2011 @ 04:23:51

    Thank you for a wonderful review friends like you Annie are one in a million


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