Tuesday, January 3, 2017

First Bear of the Year


Purchasing fur for the bears is never an easy chore. Mohair is my favorite fur to work with, but it is hard to find the color, length, and density I need for a more real looking bear. The solution is to dye the fur.
My first bear of the year began in this beautiful soft long gold fabric, now a lovely perfect shade of brown.
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It has been almost a month now since I have been away from Facebook. I am finding more time to work on the bears. Things get done so much earlier in the day, and hopefully that will leave me more time post updates here on the blog. Instead of sitting with my coffee checking Facebook to see what I missed while I slept, I come here and visit the blogs I follow. It is a slower more personal experience, and I remember how much I enjoyed it.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Grizzly Cub Benton Adopted

 Benton has been adopted.

I have one last bear for this year ready for a new home. He is a 16" (40.5cm) grizzly cub named Benton.

I usually name the bears after the state I am living in, and that is now Pennsylvania. Benton is a very nice small town not too far from my house. It is one of my favorite places to go antiquing.



Benton is made with Tissavel luxury faux fur. Working with tipped fur is a challenge especially when the tips are light. I do a lot a shaping with scissors. Grizzly naturally have darker fur on their lower limbs. Using this type of fur made achieving that easy, I usually airbrush it darker. The face though was the challenge. The areas on his face that have been trimmed needed to be lightened. I first gently airbrushed with a lighter shade, and then went back with a pearl white paint with a hint of gold, and lightened up the fur strand by strand with a fine brush. I needed to do it this way to keep the fur soft. The fur is very soft. It was a time consuming process that was worth the effort. 


His face from about half way between his eyes and ears has all been needle felted with wool and a barbed needle. After the face is shaped I unravel the fur from the fabric and with the same needle root it into the felt. It is locked in tight and is not easily removed. Using this technique allows me to use more than one color on the face and to blend it seamlessly. 

His nose has also been needle felted, it is done all in one piece with the muzzle. It is sealed and sanded many times, and then painted and sealed. 


His eyes are glass teddy bear eyes that I have hand painted brown with a shimmer of bronze pigment. The whites are wool felt. 

        

I like the bears to have a little accessory to play with. I made Benton a little ball of wool felt. 




He has a plastic armature from his head to his tail. He does not have a head joint. The spine allows for easy posing. He also has the same type of armature in his upper limbs.
He has traditional joints in his shoulders and hips.
Over the summer I worked on a new way to joint the back legs, I felt the Lockline type armature was not giving me enough bend in the knees. I have joints inside the legs at the knee and ankles.



He is filled with wool, polyester fiberfill, soft silicone pellets in his belly, and some bbs for weight. He is not firmly stuffed to allow for ease of movement.


His paws are made of leather. His claws are sculpted of epoxy clay, they have been painted and sealed. They are very hard, but not unbreakable.

As with all of my bears, his left foot is signed and dated.

 

Benton comes from a smoke free home. 


One last picture to give you an idea of his size.



 




Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Bear for Tomorrow

One more bear before the year is over. This sweet little 16" grizzly cub will be available sometime tomorrow afternoon on the 'Available' page here on the website.
No name yet, I just finished him up today. 



Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Leaving Facebook

I have left Facebook. There are many reasons for me leaving, but the biggest is time. I feel like there is never enough time in the day. Bear making is not my only business, my husband and I have another business selling license plates. We sell to collectors, to businesses, decorators, and crafts people, and that is the business that pays the bills. I am the shipping and photographing department of Platedog, and that takes most of my day.
I have been gone from FB for a couple of weeks now, and I don’t miss it. I spend most of my workday on the computer, and it was just to easy to go visit just for a few minutes to break up the photo editing monotony. By the time I visited the groups, and made comments, those few minutes often ended up being more like a half and hour.
I will be happier just keeping photos and updates here on the blog. It will give me more time with the bears and the other creative endeavors I wish to pursue.
I will continue with Flickr, and Instagram. I enjoy looking at the inspiration on these sites without feeling the need to comment.