Appearing on the art world’s version of Dragons Den was nerve-wracking for sculptor Craig Hudson. Luckily he had his teddy with him for comfort.

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The 32-year-old fine art UCS graduate was picked from thousands of amateur artists who applied to present pieces to the panel of no nonsense judges on BBC2’s Show Me the Monet.

They were won over by you can have my ted, a bronze, hulk-like figure clutching a teddy bear; inspired by his brother Marcus Banham’s battle with testicular cancer.

“When it came to his chemotherapy, there was no consoling him and to see a man regarded so highly in my thoughts brought down to this level was upsetting. I wanted to make a figure that represented him and his big personality. When I was ill I would always want my teddy, so I decided to give him the ted,” says Craig.

Impressed by his originality, technical skill and the sculpture’s emotional impact and pressence, judges Charlotte Mullins, David Lee and Roy Bolton gave him the chance to show and sell it at London’s prestigious Mall Galleries.

“The whole experience has been one to remember, with its nervous times, massive highs and equally massive lows. I don’t think I could put myself through the ordeal again but look back with fondness and a sense of pride being able to be a part of it all,” says Craig, who gave up a ten-year career in retail to pursue one in art.

“TV is one of the best forms of advertising and I only hope the programme reached out to people that would never have seen my work before. I look forward to the future and the struggles ahead.”

The sculpture was a real talking point of the exhibition. After upping his asking price from £2,100 to £3,300 on the judges’ suggestion the piece, one of six, didn’t sell when the show aired. He went on to sale it at the higher price to a private collector a month after.

Ipswich-based Craig - who has taken an apprenticeship at the Butley Mills studios, near Woodbridge - will be showcasing his work at Aldeburgh’s Peter Pears Gallery alongside Laurence Edwards and Brian Taylor from 10am-5pm, November 7-14.

His brother has been given the all-clear.




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