Monday, June 27, 2011

Starting out

I was introduced to the world of bear making by a small little yellow teddy. He was given to me when I was eight years old and wow did I think he was the cutest thing in the world... many many years later when I rediscovered this little guy I thought that he was hand made since i had seen nothing like him. Inspired and full of great ideas I collected the materials in my house and began working on my own bear, which proved to be much harder than i expected..! I am so embarrassed to admit that my first bear was far from cuddly, for he was made of wood, and I jointed him using a drill and nails (Ouch!). Despite his unfriendly apperance I was feeling pretty proud of myself for conquering such a massive task so I started working on new bears but this time I did some research on materials and decided to make a more cuddly friend out of fabric. The next few bears were looking better already! I had always been good with clay so I had made my own noses and eyes and created a hole in the back so that I could sew them on securely. I discovered an excellent bear forum online called Teddy Talk, and learned about the materials real bear makers made.. I wondered to myself if perhaps this was why my bears weren't coming out quite right. After many hours of reading about what kind of materials people used, mohair, alpaca, as well as prisma markers, and airbrushes for shading I knew what I was looking for. But there were no fabric stores in my area that sold this... so I hit the Goodwill and found some old teddy bears who were made out of nice fabric. After bringing home one large white teddy bear (that was a great deal... only two dollars) I sat there staring at it on my desk.. I hesitated... and finally his adorable face won me over; I couldn't do it. I wrote and asked the expert bear makers at Teddy Talk if they had ever made a bear out of a old one.. and then something I never expected happened! Bear makers from across the country were generously donating to me beautiful piles of mohair and alpaca.. I could not believe how kind these complete strangers were! Right away I got to work on some new bears and wrote back to the artists who were so nice to send me the materials I needed, and decided that I would work on three bears this summer for the people who sent me the fabric, joints, eyes, and armature. Needless to say I was hooked on bear making : ).

The teddy that started it all.
Compared to the first all of the other teddies were cake.

All of the fabric that was generously given to me

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