Friday, May 14, 2010

Inspiring Finds

Lately, I have been inspired in my bear making and other artsy pursuits by so many things I've found here and there. One of my inspirations is the work of other artists, whether they make teddy bears or dolls or other fiber arts, or even paintings. I am also inspired by things that are antique, vintage, or just plain old. My mom always had old things on display in her house; she inherited a lot of it from her Aunt Lily. I remember hearing, "That was Aunt Lily's" or "Remember when we went to Aunt Lily's house to go through her things after she passed away?" And though I was very young, I do vaguely remember us (Mom, Grandma, and I) going through Aunt Lily's things at her big old house...though I probably played more than I helped!

The premier issue of the magazine Prims is one place where I've found a treasure trove of inspiration. The layout of the pages, the little details in the photographs, the artists' inspiration and imagination, their techniques and supplies--it all comes to life in this volume, which is more like a keepsake than a magazine. It is printed on high-quality paper that feels thick in my hands, and it is priced higher to indicate the quality and encourage the reader to keep it.

Though I am not "into" dolls, the dolls in this magazine are inspiring in their details. A few of the artists use antique fabrics to adorn their work, though they say they have a very hard time cutting such materials. I understand that: it was hard for me to cut into my first piece of mohair because it was such expensive fabric. And now that I've jumped back into bear making, I have noticed that the prices for my favorite mohairs are about $100 more per yard!

Two artists featured in Prims really appeal to me, and I am finding that I'm having more ideas for unconventional (for me) and "aged" pieces: Karen Brady Hammontree of Brady Bears and Susan Pilotto of Crowsnest Pass Primitive Folk Art. (Both are listed in my sidebar of bear artists and other creative sorts.) Be sure to visit their blogs to see their creations.

With the little "aged" bear I'm making, I know I need to be brave as I age him. Honestly, it is not easy to rough up a sweet little thing who looks up at you so innocently. I tell myself that the bears don't feel anything while I'm making them, though! I'm the sort who had trouble as a child putting anything with a face up into the attic for storage. Are any of you like me? And one day, I understood my angst a bit better, when Mom and I were going through a trunk in my Great-Aunt Milly's attic: I discovered an antique electric eye teddy bear! Of course, I though about his feelings being in the trunk so many years...and now, I wonder how he'll feel when Mom plucks him from my childhood bedroom and sends him to me in the mail. There must be a story in there somewhere waiting to be written.


  1. Oh, never mind putting anything with a face away, I couldn't eat anything with a face - like chocolate bunnies, and I spent years kissing my Billy Bear sausage lunch meat goodbye before I ate my sandwich at school lol

  2. Hey Debora...

    thanks for mentioning my work on your blog! :) I love your bears, they have really sweet faces.

    Good luck with your experimenting. It really is fun!


  3. Ha-ha! I am laughing along with you, Katy! :-)

    Karen, I love your work and am delighted you were featured in Prims. Thank you so much for your lovely comment about my bears! And yes, I must experiment and have fun with aging...just close my eyes and dive in, right? ;-)

  4. Hi Debora,

    There is a story. You see, when a bear is packed away or sent through the mail he/she goes into a "special" very safe sleep. When unpacked and given that first hug he/she comes to life and is ready for new love & adventures...

    Blessings & Hugs
    Joyce (Jessie says "woof") & the bears

    P.S. I can't eat chocolate bunnies at all. )O:

  5. I am giggling over here, Joyce. That must be it! (I can't eat chocolate bunnies, either...but only because I can't have chocolate right now! :-( That's not to say that I LIKE devouring bunnies, though!!!)

  6. Debora,

    Good grief - they will hear you so bite off the ears first when you get back to eating chocolate. )o: OUCH!!!

    Blessings & Hugs
    Joyce & The Girls

  7. Well . . I totally get the chocolate bunny thing . . . being a maker of bunnies! I prefer my chocolate in a blob with no human or animal form!
    As for any other "beings" . . . when young I took home any injured creature I found, some of which seemed to miraculously recover once in our kitchen . . much to my mother's dismay!
    I think this is why we re-create these friends. . . . we were tender-hearted children! (and hopefully still tender-hearted adults).

    Lori Ann


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