Wednesday, July 20, 2011


   As Benjamin Franklin once said, "Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning."  Whether we like it or not change is an everyday part of life, many of us struggle to face it where as others rush head on to meet the challenges rapidly thrown at us. Change is sometimes drastic, the loss of a job, a home, a loved one, and yet it can also be progressive and positive. Change has been occurring since the beginning of time as the seasons turn from summer to fall and to winter, the leaves turn into a kaleidoscope of dancing colors and then drift to the floor in exhaustion. Although seasons do not change in Florida (our leaves stay green or brown all year long, and we pretty much never get snow) obviously many other things do. My absolute favorite material to work with is clay... I have immensely enjoyed sculpting all of the noses on my bears and I can honestly say that is what make my bears unique and mine. Since I began making bears I have been wanting to combine even more clay into my work but was not quite sure how.... So just like the leaves in autumn I decided it was time for a little change to mix things up. My next creation I will be working on is a soft/hard sculpture monkey in a dress... YES I did just say that. I'm not sure if this will be a complete flop but so far it has gone well I think. Ive attached some pictures of this work in progress, its been quite hard to photograph because the face of the monkey is so tiny.. only the size of one of my thumb prints; enjoy! I hope that you will add a little change to your day too :).
               - Heidi

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rabbits, dogs , bears oh my!

Expecting to find my AP exam score results today in the mail I was not at all disappointed when I found a small brown package all the way from my Grammy Nancy in Pennsylvania instead! Curious as to what could be in the box for it wasn't my birthday, or Christmas for that matter I was surprised to find a little 6 inch antique bear in wonderful condition! With the bear she included a letter which said "I'm sending this Steiff bear that I have had in my possession for many years. It's very old and as you can see the bear has the Steiff signature label in its ear showing that it was made in Germany. I had seen one the same size at an antique auction house years ago that was selling for $125. When you were little, I left Hans and you pick from Steiff animals to take home. I hope you still have them." Well I happened to have the two other Steiffs sitting on my desk at the moment so I thought I should take a picture of this happy family reunited :). I hope they bring a smile to your day as they did to mine !
- Heidi

I've only done a little research so far but I think he could possibly be from the 1950's..?

This little guy is the first hand made bear I have seen made by someone else. It is interesting
to compare the feel and look at the techniques that Margarete steiff  had used. Her bear is much
harder than mine and the stuffing is firmly packed; mine are very soft and theres not so much stuffing.
 I wonder if all of the stuffing helped preserve the bear over time. This might be a technique
I should look into. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Other art work

  Ever since I was little my mom would always do arts and crafts with my brother and I, and my love for art grew in elementary school because I had the most amazing teacher. She had tons of random material in buckets, as well as pastels, charcoal, clay, and paint; she let us create what ever we wanted and just let our imaginations flow. I've taken a few art classes since then and I've never had a teacher like her, most of the times they give you step by step directions.. I believe that there is no right or wrong way to do art. My favorite thing to draw back then was cats, and as I practiced my drawing became much better. But something strange happened, my hand writing was growing worse as my drawing grew better. I had always made good grades in school, but now I was getting notes on my tests saying that 20 points were taken off because my teacher could not read my writing. I was devastated.. I knew I had gotten the answer correct, but my teacher just could not understand it... I would talk to my teachers after class and try to read what it said, but even I couldn't decipher my own hand writing... it looked like Egyptian. The problem steadily persisted throughout elementary school, middle school, and finally high school where a teacher recommended that I get tested. At last I discovered that I have a visual processing disorder, which explained the backwards letters, and chaotic script. I was now required to type up all my work in my classes and this seemed to solve most of the problems; finally my teachers could see that I was a good writer, and I scored a perfect score on the writing section of my SAT. It was always difficult trying to explain to people when they saw my handwriting and then my drawings, for I had never understood it myself. Throughout these times I took up the piano and flute, music seemed to come naturally to me and I could figure out how to play any song just by ear. Music has brought me so much peace and joy in my life.. who knows maybe some day I will try and create a musical bear. Now that would be a challenge!

Turtles magnets I am making for my sisters wedding as gifts for the guests

I love making little animals out of clay

I enjoy photography, but at the moment I have
no camera so I just use my phone

Me just playing around before a concert

I love to cook desserts almost as much as I like to eat them!

Imagine trying to grade that!

I was inspired by the movie King Kong. I named this picture
"Ben and Jerry"

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Beddy Teddy

Finally he is all finished! Here is my latest bear a 5 inch cub made of light brown imported synthetic fur. I made his shiny black nose from FIMO clay, and then polished it and painted it, I needle sculpted him tiny eye lids that can be opened or closed, and I then very lightly shaded his facial features. I also gave him pulled toes, and then signed his right foot. After working on this teddy for days I finally finished him late last night, so I decided to give him a little cotton pillow and hat with a fluffy pom pom on the end. I stuffed beddy teddy with half a pound of steel shot, and a little bit of polyfil. I hope he makes you smile :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

 Sometimes it can be a little daunting diving into a new project, and even if it does not work out the first time just try try and try again. I started my second bear today and was just about to trash this head, it was causing me so many problems! But I decided to stick with it and what a surprise I think his face looks cuter than the first! Here are some pictures of a work in progress, just like snap shots i've taken as i've been working. 

He doesn't look very happy about me sewing on his eyelids.....

No I wasn't going for quite that look... Just trying to put on some eyelids ;).

He only had one ear at this point,
I don't think he heard me right when I told him to cooperate!

There we go, what a sweet little face. Hes looking happier by the minute.

And a body too! Its a little flat because I haven't stuffed it yet..
Better leave the legs and paws for tomorrow. Happy fourth of July everyone!

First you sew a layer of suede on top

Put a slit in the bottom and then stuff with polyfil

And then pull...

 Give me a hug!

This teddy is most definetly right handed.

 Stuffing time! He looks kind of hungry don't you think?

Friday, July 1, 2011

My inspiration

 While I am bear making, working with clay, or just doodling around I find that my pets keep me company and inspire me. Sometimes when I am at a loss for an idea I will just happen to look down and see my German Shepherd Dante watching me with the silliest expressions on his face;  I often try to re create these expressions in my work. I am lucky to have such a great dog model, Dante always follows me wherever I go, and I even think sometimes him with his big nose and deep amber eyes he looks a little bit like a big teddy bear himself. My animals have always been a big part of my life, especially my dogs; they are the main reason why I am interested in becoming a veterinarian. A few years ago my old German Shepherd Buddy who was seven years old passed away from his stomach twisting causing bloat. Buddy had always had many medical problems like epileptic seizures and serious allergies which required shots monthly. The seizure medicine had caused a chemical imbalance in his brain making him want to eat everything, so we always had to be very careful and keep a good eye on our big brother. Buddy would always go on every vacation with us including his two favorites, myrtle beach and Pennsylvania, he was very much a big part of my life and just like Dante he was always by my side. I remember one time we were exploring the woods near my house and it started to get dark when I realized I was terribly lost. Buddy was an extremely intelligent dog, and all I had to do was ask him to find home and he lead me there. One morning when I was in eighth grade my mom said that Buddy was very sick; he had been laying outside in our patio area. I went outside to see him and he laid his head down in my lap.. the light in his amber eyes dimmed and that was the day my puppy went to heaven. Although this was probably one of the saddest days of my life I will always remember the good times we had and the joy that came with owning my first dog. I had taught Buddy many tricks, but I think he had  actually taught me more than I realized.... since he was always sick I learned a lot about different types of veterinarians and medicines, we took him to many specialist for gastric problems, brain problems, allergies, and we even tried holistic and acupuncture. I hope that someday I will be able to help other animals with similar issues and more. Not just a dog lover I also enjoy having my kitties around while I am working. I have two black and white cats named Cookie and Oreo, and a calico named Autumn. We rescued Autumn and Oreo from an animal shelter nearby, and Cookie was a stray that followed our 120 pound German Shepherd home one day. My cats are very mischievous and have been known to toilet paper the house from the inside out while everyone is asleep.. Here are some pictures of a few of my pets. I hope you like them : ).

                                              Dante in the pool.. he loves to swim!

Autumn and Cookie  

A baby tortoise we rescued off the road and then released into the wild

Kermit the king of our pond

Smegal my brother Hans's leopard gecko

The fish

Dante- I named him after the musical term "Andante"
which means flowing, long lasting and full of life.