I mentioned a while ago I wanted to work on some smaller designs and at 13", Philbert is quite little by my gargantuan standards! I'm hoping to create even smaller designs eventually, but first things first, I need to get comfortable with these little fellas gradually, rather than suddenly plunging my sizing down from 20 inches plus, to under ten inches! It's important to me that whatever size of bear I make, it doesn't compromise the 'ALL BEAR' identity.
I'm so used to making big bears after creating them for such a long time, that I wanted to make sure I had adapted my bear-making techniques sufficiently, so the small bears look as beautifully made and as well proportioned as their much larger counterparts. As well as exploring an entirely different range of fabrics than I usually use to ensure correct pile lengths and density, this project has meant reconsidering the sizing of component parts too .. joints, eyes etc.
It has also been necessary for me to change from using my usual sturdy stuffing tool, to using a far smaller doll maker's stuffing tool instead, so that the bears feel perfectly stuffed (I found the ideal tool for this at http://www.joggles.com/ one of my favourite online stores! It's a 'Barbara Willis' stuffing stick and I must say, it works brilliantly). When it came to stitching my nose and closing seams, I found it worked most successfully if I used finer embroidery and extra-strong threads, than I would normally use.
Compared to the art of making big bears, there certainly seem to be many subtle changes necessary when making smaller bears. I am certain that the smaller the bear, the more things there are to be considered in the making and design processes and although I can't ever see me getting as small as miniature, I would love to eventually create a successful little bear of about eight inches ... I think it's time I challenged myself!
So, to summarise, this is 'Philbert' and at 13", I think he's a lovely size. I am very pleased with how this new design has turned out and I am looking forward to developing it further. Mind you, I won't be giving up on my big bears, oh no! I love them way too much for that!