Monday, August 29, 2011

Fantastic Felt

  Now that all of my bears are gone my desk has lots of extra space. I decided it was time I try some new techniques, and some new materials as well. Joanne Livingstons blog has some great photos and descriptions on how to needle felt so I've been studying that lately and trying out my hand with the wool. Its probably the strangest stuff I have ever worked with.... you take this long barbed needle and some fluff and just stab it over and over again and it turns into hard felt, depending on how and where you stab the needle determines the shape you are going to create. Its almost like working with fuzzy clay! So far I tried to make a panda bear face but it didn't turn out so well when I tried waxing over the felt nose with Yankee candle wax....... (Live and learn!) So I tried again! This time I changed my pattern to give the face more width to make it look more like a panda.... but it ended up being a polar bear. It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but I'm not complaining! After I felted the face I still felt like there was more I needed to do. I started rooting in mohair just around the edges of the felt, and before I knew it I had half a face already done. Surprisingly I enjoy rooting in the hair.. it takes a lot of time but the results are rewarding. After I did the left side of the polar bears face I took a brush and combed over the places I had put in hair, and I was very happy to discover that none of it came out!  I still have a lot of work to go on this face, the nose needs to be smoothed over (you can see the hard edges where the paint brush was picked up) , the eyes need to be shaded and hairs worked in, the other side of the face needs more hairs as well and some scissor sculpting afterwards. But I am in no hurry, I really want to take my time on this bear and just explore the techniques.

 Best wishes and happy bear making to all!
       - Heidi

Here is the needle I use, and the wool.
I'm not really sure yet how to use the block correctly.
The felt sticks to it and makes it frizzy and hard to control.

Here is mohair that I dyed myself
(of course I did nothing with the white piece but rinse it out and toss it in the dryer to make it fluffy.)

The nose and eyes still need work.

Here is a picture I added a few days later.
He turned into a panda after all.. go figure!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Golden Teddy

 Hello everyone!!! Please meet my newest teddy, a golden bear made of imported 3/8" synthetic! This little guy is a tad under 5 inches sitting, and he is filled with polyfill and weights to give him that big grizzly feel! I took a lot of time to scissor sculpt the details on his face, as well as craft him a shiny black nose made of clay. He is 5 way jointed and has black leather paw pads that were then sculpted by me just using a needle and thread. Its been so much fun creating this guy, and he will be the last bear of the summer for me, it's time to get back and focus again on school work. Him and his little brother "Beddy Teddy" will be heading off to their new homes this week; I will miss having all of the bears I made around but each one has been a great learning experience I will never let go of. I hope you enjoy him as much as I have!
 Best wishes! - Heidi

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Flying bears!

 Summer is just about over, but before school started my dad decided to take a trip up to Pennsylvania to visit our relatives. Wednesday morning my dad, brother and I boarded a little plane and then in two hours landed in Allentown, PA. The flight was quite humorous for my older brother Hans offered to carry my bag full of sewing supplies (fray check, needles, scissors, pliers); I had checked beforehand to make sure these items could be brought through security but I was still a little nervous. Nevertheless the plan worked and he brought my sewing supplies on with a straight face (he was unaware of the "dangerous" items inside lol), and I was able to work on my bears during the flight! Saturday morning we drove the rental car up to my great aunts house, and I surprised her with a bear I had made for her. She recently was in the hospital and is still recovering so I thought she would appreciate the gift; especially since she is a seamstress herself! I received my school schedule on Sunday, I will be taking 5 AP courses so it will be a difficult year for me yet I am so excited to be finishing my last year of high school and going to college! I decided to put my monkey away for a little bit until I finish this last bear that way I can send them all off to their new homes before school begins, on the weekends I should hopefully be able to work on the monkey :).  Here are some pictures of our trip so far, and my work in progress!
    - Heidi

A butterfly found on our morning hike

Here are some beautiful flowers that are growing in my Grammy's yard

Here is a birds nest that she had found and showed to me.

This is where they used to store apples before refrigerators!

I was just playing around with some clay while I was packing

Here is my aunt and her new bear!

The last bear I'm working on before school starts

Heading home! This trip gave me some very good ideas, I can't wait to finish
this bear on the plane!!!