Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sewing a traditional German Bear

 Margarete Steiff was one of the first to explore the unknown territory of bear making; her fuzzy creations were quickly bought off by the American market soon after the supposed story of a failed hunting trip president Roosevelt had gone on. The story goes that the President and his friends were on a long bear hunt with little success, when his buddies decided to catch a bear for him and tie it up so that the target would impossible to miss. Being an honorable man Roosevelt declined this offer and immedietly ordered the release of the bear ; this story of the presidents soft side some how leaked out into public and Roosevelt without meaning to inspired the creation of the first Teddy Bears. Thousands of miles across ocean and mountains humble Margarete Steiff was busy at work in her workshop in Germany when an order for 3,000 came in... The rest is history.
A few months ago I was asked to attend a German competition for my school (I've taken German for 4 years now), and my assignment was to design an art project which represented German history with a musical theme. What better than a traditional hand sewn German bear playing a flute made of painted and polished clay? The desicion was clear and I set to work. After months of working very hard on this big bear I finally finished, and the competition went well, earning our school an ausgezeichnet. Along this journey I took step by step pictures to show the judges who were fasicnated to see Hans (I named the bear after my brother who was born in nurnberg) come to life. I hope you enjoy them too!

               Here is Hans all finished up! He is 8 inches tall with needle sculpted toes that were then carefully shadded with acrylics. I sewed this big grizzly out of synthetic fur; his nose was then made from FIMO clay and was painted and polished, and he has soulful brown german glass blown eyes.


  1. Wow!! Heidi...Hans is spectacular! He looks so much larger than 8 inches, you've done a terrific job on his paws and he has such a sweet face. Great work, congratulations.

  2. Thank you so much Denise ! He was my first bear trying out the pulled toes technique, I'm so happy that they turned out the way they did :).