Monday, September 9, 2013

Updates After TBAI

I recently got back from the Teddy Bear Artists Invitational (TBAI). The theme this year was "Just Imagine" and my gallery piece as a bear marionette.  I made 2 initially because I was a little concerned that I couldn't make it cute enough and I never know whether my pieces will be male or female until I put the faces on them. This time I made one of each...the brown one was a handsome male and the "blond" one was obviously too pretty!!! So, next I set out to "assembling" them. I knew from the class that I took with Leslie Molen about the armature that goes inside, but a bear would be different. When I assembled the upper and lower arms and legs to each other I used a small "patch" on each side which was jointed on with small cotter pins with a space in between, and the neck had a wobble cotter pin joint (this was done to the brown bear). Joining the head to the body on the blond one was the same. Years ago I made Native American bear marionette as a visual aide for Camp Firefly (a Girl Scout Camp at Camp Crowell in Oakton, VA). His joints were all wobbly including the elbows and knees.

For the blond bear marionette I used the same technique as with the "Firefly" bear except I put a small "patch " on the back of the elbow joint and a "patch on the front to form the knee. This seemed to stabilize the joints and I was able to put the string through here. I was very pleased with both applications.

Next came the "styling." I wanted to show off the joints on the brown one and clothes seemed to inhibit his movement, so I dressed him in a stiffened collar with a bow tie, stiffened cuffs with button cuff links, and stiffened spats over patent leather shoes. I dressed up the blond one in a onesie blouse/bloomer combo similar to the piece I made in Leslie Molen's class. In this case I wanted to cover the body with a "costume," but still keep the flexibility. So I added a big skirt, handmade brooch, lace fingerless gloves and a key fob accessory. (I am considering adding a mop cap or head band). She looks like a "Victorian housekeeper" so I named her "Mrs. Hughes" after the character from the PBS series Downton Abbey. (She is still available for sale)

I'm pleased to say the brown one was bought by Susan Quinlan (she also bought my Mary Poppins 3 TBAI challenge/gallery pieces ago). WOW!! I am thoroughly elated!
                                                                                 (Edit Update)
Now I'm off to the John C. Campbell Folk School this week to take a class; I'll blog about it later when I get back. I'll be back just in time for the D.C. Big Flea this weekend Sept. 14-15, 2013. I'll be working to finish more pieces for this show!! See you there!!