About me

“Love of beauty is Taste. The creation of beauty is Art.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Meet the artist behind BrightBears.com

Tessa Altenburg October 2011On the 11th of August, 1967, I was born as Tessa Ruiter in a small upstairs flat in Amsterdam, the capital city of The Netherlands. I lived there for a few years, and spent the rest of my childhood in Emmeloord and Marknesse, both small and nice towns. In 1990, I married Richard Altenburg. We have two wonderful children, Melissa and Bas. The four of us live in Emmeloord now.

When I was a little girl, I was occupied in creating very small doll’s clothes. While other kids disliked bad weather, I was comfortable with it because it gave me an opportunity to go indoors and create dresses almost too tiny to take hold of.

When our children were small, their bedrooms were filled with bears: bear wallpapers, bear curtains, bear duvets, bear shirts, they had it all. Later, when I started building a doll’s house, and created all sorts of little things to put in the little rooms, I pictured a miniature teddy bear living inside the house. In fact, I bought my first miniature bear kit at a doll’s houses exhibition.

Combining my love for teddy bears and crafting small items, it seemed I had found my ideal hobby: creating miniature teddy bears. Shortly after I finished my first miniatures from Emily Farmer kits, I decided to get serious about my creations and came up with a name for them: Bright Bears.

I started designing my own bears and clothes for them to wear. Often I also make accessories for them, like soft rugs to sit on, even smaller pets to take care of, and Fimo clay toys to play with. Every Bright Bear is unique and hand-stitched with a lot of attention to detail. On average, one new Bright Bear is born in my home every week. I want them to enchant their future adoption parents with their beauty, and I believe I can not create them much faster without sacrificing part of their charm.

On the 7th of August, 2005, Ryan was my first Bright Bear on auction through eBay. This bear, born on the 28th of May, 2005, did not sell that week. A couple of weeks later, I did make my first sale, but the bidder never paid for my little friend. It was a bit disappointing, but with the help of Richard I persevered and since January 2007 I have been quite successful in finding warm adoption parents for my little ones.

In May 2005, my husband Richard registered brightbears.com as the domain name for my Internet web site. After some initial attempts, he redesigned the site in February 2007 and again in October 2011, using a content management system that would allow me to grow in the years to come. Richard is my technical right hand, translator and photographer. I am grateful for the beautiful pictures he takes of my precious creations.

I hope you enjoy the pictures of Bright Bears on my web site. Maybe one day you will adopt one of them to take care of in your home. Please feel free to contact me with any comments or questions.

Bear hugs,

Tessa.