THE CHALLENGE ...
1. Classic/vintage style bear makers:
Create a bear in contemporary style, using at least one of the following additional contemporary elements in your design, ie., extra neck joint, trapunto paws, claws, doll's eyes, eyelids, eyelashes, airbrush shading, open mouth, teeth, alternative nose treatment etc.
2. Contemporary bear makers:
Design a traditional or vintage style bear using traditional materials and methods of construction. In the case of vintage design work, utilise distressing techniques, ie., staining, shading, shaving, patching, embroidery etc., to 'age' your bear.
I first decided that since I make mostly contemporary bears I would try a vintage looking bear. I have done this before, but I had this very sparse lovely blue fur, and I thought this time I would try to take the "aging" of the bear farther than before. The biggest challenge was the nose. I really wanted to make a nose with stitches missing like they had been worn away with kisses over the years. I tried three times and was just not pleased with the result. I finally stitched a full nose as usual, but waxed it to make it look like worn leather. I think it works for him. I also used a razor to "wear" bald patches in his fur and I think this worked out too. If I do another vintage- look fellow, I will be sure to have felt on hand for the paws because ultraseude isn't perfect for a vintage bear--there was no synthetic seude "back then"!
Here is Little Blue.
After reading some of the other artists challenge bear ideas, I thought I'd have a go at a new contemporary bear design, too. I wanted to try the double neck joint. I have tried it once or twice, but have never been thrilled with the result. This time I am pretty happy. Even though I do far more contemporary styled bears than vintage ones this proved to be the most challenging of the two.
The purpose of the double neck joint is, as I see it, to create a bear which can be posed sweetly on all fours as well as seated. The neck allows the bear to look in all directions. Adding the extra wedge shaped piece at the neck changes the proportions more than one might think, and I found it challenging to keep all the pattern pieces in proportion.
My fabric piece didn't leave much room for error, but I did end up having to make the back legs larger.
I finished with him and I am overall quite pleased with him. I took many pictures. Say Hello to Knuti! (Named for the sweet cub from the Berlin Zoo who enchanted so many in his short life.)
Both Knuti and Little Blue will be available at the My Friends and Me signing event May 28 in Leesburg, VA. Please visit my "Shows" link above for more information.