Bearmaking 101…any interest?
The Danish translation of the African Flower hexagon Tutorial is now up…initially I had lots of trouble editing the original post , with “Error 400” popping up frequently…not sure what that was all about, and I couldn’t get much help from the Blogger Forums, so if anyone out there knows what this error is supposed to mean, please let me know ! Suffice to say, the tutorial is up and once again, Thank you, Irene 🙂
Today’s post is about something completely different…
During my varied travels through the world of crafting, I came across a lovely book on how to make miniature Teddy Bears. I love Bears, collect them as well and wondered when I saw this book, if it would be very difficult. I bought it, read it and made my first bear in just a day.
Of course, being miniatures, the bear was completely hand sewn, and if I recall, was about 3cm tall! It was a round bottomed Roly-Poly Bear that was weighted , so when you pushed him, he bounced back and forth…very cute!
This led to eventually designing miniature bears, and at one stage I was selling them to a local Bear Shop (yes, believe it or not…a whole shop dedicated just to bears!). Sadly, the South African bear market for really well crafted, unique OOAK bears is pretty poor. It may be that (as in knitting and other handmade items), people don’t realize just how much work went into creating them….
There is certainly a thriving and incredibly talented bear making community in South Africa, but unless you sell your bears internationally, you are being underpaid.
It was inevitable that I should graduate to designing and making larger bears, which from a purely practical point of view, are sewn my machine, but handmade the rest of the way. The biggest challenge was to develop a style of bear, which showed unique features that made the bear instantly identifiable as a certain Artist’s. My biggest influences came from the early Steiff Bears, which are of course, now incredibly scarce and unbelievably expensive! Steiff is a German company (still operating today), that produced their first Teddy Bears in the early 1900’s. The were a huge success (as you can well imagine…I mean, on consideration, what did kids take to bed for comfort and company when they were little, before the advent of the teddy bear?…sheep?…somehow not quite the same, Watson my dear…), and since those early years, Steiff bears (especially antique bears) have become coveted by collectors all over the world.
I used mohair fabric almost exclusively, although expensive, it is certainly the best “fur” imitation you can find. You can also find some wonderful long pile Alpaca fabric (unfortunately even more expensive than mohair), which makes the softest, fluffiest bears imaginable!
Don’t be put off by the cost…you can make a small bear for a very reasonable cost, and once you have been bitten by this bug (again, just as with knitting and crocheting…), you will think of buying mohair, as you think of buying Kidsilk haze 🙂
I have been thinking about expanding the kinds of tutorials I post on my blog, and would like to ask my dear readers if Bear making would be something you would want to learn how to do?
My blog is mostly dedicated to knitting and crocheting, but perhaps it would be good to have some different stuff as well…please leave a comment if you are interested in this 🙂
Sweet dreams, folks!