Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sweet Little Feet!

One of the details people notice first about my bears (apart from their faces) are the detailed paw pads. From my earliest bears to the ones I create today I have always wanted decorate the paws of my bears and have tried different things along the way. I have embellished paw pads with acrylic paint, air brushing, embroidery, needle-felting, needle-sculpting, trapunto, and various combinations of these. In 2003, I created a look which combines two quilting techniques, applique and trapunto with air-brush shading, and was quite pleased with it. Collectors seem to like it too, and so it has become one of the most recognizable features in my work.

Before the paw pieces are sewn onto the legs or arms, Ultrasuede pads are appliqued onto the fur- sewing around each toe and pad. After the pads are sewn to the legs and arms, but before the limbs are turned right side out, a tiny slit is cut in the back of each toe, and they are stuffed one by one. The slits are then stitched closed with sturdy thread. This time consuming technique involves a few more  steps, but the effect is well worth the extra time, and suits my larger bears beautifully.

I do not use this technique for all of my bears, because sometimes I enjoy creating  classically styled Teddy Bears and I think their paws look best with just a bit of air brush shading. Also, the process does not translate well to small bears.

When I designed a small bear pattern which had the look of the bigger bears--with the chubby body and curved arms and legs, I really wanted to give the paws detail to resemble their bigger brothers and sisters, and now I have come up with something I am happy with! I hope you like it too!



This little alpaca clown is nine inches tall and her name is Pinky. Her  tiny paws--both hands and feet--are needle sculpted and then shaded with fine art pens. Pinky and two more Circus Babies like her, one black bear, and one tan bear, will be available this weekend at the Teddies Worldwide online show. Visit to see preview photos from all of the participating artists and to vote for your favorites! Then be sure to log in at 4:00 on Friday when the show starts.


Susie McMahon said...

So sweet! My sister (Linda Benson) does something similar with the feet of her does make them special!

Kays Kids said...

I love those tiny paws. They look chubby and cub like. You are very clever. I hope the show goes well.