It is always a pleasure to return to the very simplest traditional bear design, sometimes that very simplicity causes my self critical eye the greatest need to make fine adjustments to a pattern.
After recent great personal sadness I needed a little project in the bear department to keep my brain ticking so I decided to revisit the classic bear with a mind to making a smallish size and incorporating some changes which have been in the back of my mind for a while now; It did indeed provide the necessary therapy and I am very pleased with the new little bear.
It is of course pretty obvious that my original inspiration comes from the early style bears with long tapered arms and humped backs. Time and age changes them and so almost every vintage bear is different and a great part of my enjoyment in making them is that I never want any two to be the same, even if they are from the same pattern. Some of them are more worn, some more floppy, some have distinctly lop sided faces.
So today's post is to introduce Alexander, the latest manifestation of my classic bear ideas. I have refined the shapes of the arms and legs and modified proportions with the intention of making him look like a scaled down large bear, he is just over 14 inches tall ( I measure to the top of the head excluding ears )
As always I regard the shape and appearance from every angle as equally important and even though his legs are quite loose and the ankles a little floppy he can still stand up, albeit briefly so he doesn't get tired. And, in the following pictures you can also see that he has a tail; Yes I know that the early bears didn't have tails but for me this serves two purposes, firstly it give him back an essential part of his anatomy, and secondly it is my way of saying that I want to make it clear that this is my bear and my version of an ideal which floats around in my head.
His stuffing is all excelsior wood wool and I wanted it to feel old and slightly crunchy, I also wanted to introduce areas at the neck of settled and crushed wood wool so his head and neck are quite floppy; I wanted the head to settle into the neck and flop as it often does on a moderately well worn old bear, so there is a loose area in the head too.
Ultimately my aim is to turn a piece of cloth into a little creature with personality, and I probably spend far too long trimming and roughing the fur on the head and face but somehow just a few hairs can make all the difference.
My final ageing treatment does take a while to dry out but the recent hot weather has provided excellent bear drying weather and probably introduced a little subtle sun bleaching.
Please e.mail me Gregory@hugoshouse.com if you would like further information or to be added to my new mailing list