Friday, 23 April 2010

Making a Teddy Bear


Have you ever wondered how a teddy bear is made?  Each artist bear maker develops their their own methods through trial and tribulations, so a few months ago, I decided to create a bear in 'real time' and photograph his progress, step by step to show you how I create my bears. 

This is the story of how 22" Caspian was created.

He was pre-sewn yesterday.

This morning: head stuffed, ears and eyes positioned and pinned, nose area trimmed, half of muzzle trimmed. Now it's time for lunch! 

Nose stitched.
 
Mouth stitched and left half of muzzle finely trimmed.

Remainder of muzzle finely trimmed.

Eyes next ... but first it's time for a coffee break!
 Eyes inserted but eye area needs a trim so he can see where he's going!

That's better ... eye sockets trimmed to show off his baby blues.

 A little shading to make the eyes really 'pop'.

A little more muzzle trimming and hey presto, one teddy bear head ready for its body!

It's 4pm, so there's still time to joint his head to his body and perhaps stuff the arms and legs before I have to cook dinner. 
 
 Now he has a body ...

... and a pile of half stuffed limbs!

 Measuring where the arms should be placed.

 Arms attached. He's starting to look more like a proper bear now!

 Arms and legs attached.

 Unstuffed - this bear needs a substantial meal!

 Get stuffed bear!

 Well, I think that's my lot for today. It's time to cook the evening meal before my family comes home from work and it's too dark to take any more photos.

Everything is attached and bear's tummy is full, he even has a growler. His arms and legs will have to wait until the morning for final stuffing (they are only half stuffed at the moment) and I think I'll fiddle with the ears tomorrow too because I'm not sure about their position at the moment. So, if all goes well, he'll have his ears sewn on, stitched claws and a waxed nose by tomorrow afternoon.

A good day's work so far ... this has been fun!
 
 Day 2 and here we go again!
First, bear needs to have his back seam closed. Ladder stitching does the job beautifully.
 
 See, now he has an invisible back seam!

 Bottoms up bear, it's time to stuff the top half of your legs ...

 Sitting pretty! Legs stuffed, arms next ..

 One arm stuffed, the other one still to finish ... and those ears!

 Arms finished but his ears are really bugging me now!

 Not quite the look I was aiming for ...

 Howsabout placing them slightly lower ...

 ... like this? Nah, too cutsie for this ol' growler!

 Isn't this where they were to start with?! Well, maybe not quite ... they do suit him better a little higher though.

Right, time to make the final decision and sew those ears on.

 That's better! A tiny bit more trimming into the top of the muzzle area and with a little gentle sprucing up he's almost finished ...

 Come on bear, give us a twirl!

Lovely profile ...

Yes, this side is lovely too!

 
Hey, you're a handsome chap ... but ooops, I haven't sewn your claws on yet! Better do that next - and get that nose waxed.

We're almost there ...

Back later - yes, it's teabreak time! I'm going to put the kettle on now!
 
 Now to wax his nose.  Waiting patiently while the wax melts ...

 First coat of beeswax ... yuk, snotty!

Initial buffing for first coat ... looks okay, but hopefully will be even better after the second coat.

Second snotty! Poor ol' bear! Atishoo!

But all that ucky snottyness was worth the effort, now bear has a smart shiny nose and yes, that's him, sat by my computer screen admiring his work in progress photographs as I type!

We're not quite finished though, I still have his claws to stitch, but Fo's due here for her cup of tea soon, so I may have to do that a little later.

Finally I'll have to decide whether to trim him, or leave him bare ... hmmmn .... what do you think?

And then tomorrow he can have his posh pics taken on my posh Canon camera ...
 
Almost teatime on Day 2 and bear's claws are now underway!

He's a classic bear, so I've given him simple stitched claws ... very neat!

  Is it time for my trim yet Mum? Look all my claws are stitched now ...


A ribbon bow? Really? Are you sure about this? Yes bear, I am sure. It suits your baby blue eyes!


And finally, after many practise shots, a lovely professional photograph of my finished bear.  All in all, he took about three days to finish. 

I am delighted to tell you that since making him, Caspian quickly found a lovely new home in America, has been featured in the US 'Teddy Bear Review' magazine and was also a finalist in the 2010 Australian 'People's Choice' Awards!

12 comments:

Heather said...

This was fantastic! Thank you for sharing!!!

Val said...

Paula, Caspian is absolutely adorable!

You made it seem all so simple. Wish I have more time on my hands and am as skillful. Thanks for sharing!

Cheryl @ Bingle Bears said...

What a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

TedBears said...

What a gorgous big boy. Do you do any needle sculpting on his face to get the shape of his eyes or is that from just pulling in tightly?

Beautiful.

Debbie said...

Thank you for sharing this, Paula! It's great to see Caspian coming together. He's lovely! Now I need to get busy on my bears in progress...wish I were as fast as you. :-)

Michele Seraphim said...

A lovely post and a beautiful bear too!

Bramblewood Bears said...

Beautiful Bear Paula! You make it seem effortless....it takes me about 3 times that long to get a bear finished, but then again I have 7 small children ;) So much fun these bears bring to our lives....he is a gent!!
Bear Hugs and Blessings,
Tomi
Bramblewood Bears

The Littlest Thistle said...

Oh what fun, thanks for sharing, I was giggling through some of the commnetary!

Elena Malec said...

You truly deserve all the praise and awards for being such a wonderful artist.

All Bear said...

Thank you all for visiting! I'm delighted you enjoyed this post.

Natulka said...

you are so sweet to share this! LOVE your beautiful and sweet creations! You are such a wonderful artist!!!
I have started to sew the bears not so long time ago. I don't know still a much and I'll be grateful for yours helps. I have sewed only one bear, now I sew the second.
I will be very happy if you visit my blog and tell the opinion about my bear.
Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!
Warmly,
Natalia

Ирина said...

he is so handsome!!!!))

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