The Quinlan Artist Doll & Teddy Bear show was held in April this year and I created a new 5 1/2″ bear design for my show pieces. All of the bears were hand-sewn, instead of using a machine. Each bear was made from a different material – I chose mohair, alpaca, and synthetic plush fabrics.
Each year the show has a signature gallery which allows each artist to create a one of a kind piece to highlight. This year I made my first steampunk bear, who is named Murdoch. He is mohair and wears a leather flying helmet and leather goggles. His flying machine was made from bits of this and that, including a vintage electric bicycle bell, faucet handle, scraps of metal, wood, and velvet. The wings were made of stitched rusty fabric. They have wire ribs and are attached to the sides of the machine in a way that allows them to fold.
The show also has another gallery of themed pieces and one theme for 2018 was famous American men and women. A pink mohair bear was given a mohair swan hat and tutu of vintage linens and lace with hand-beaded bodice. While searching for American ballerinas, I learned about Agnes de Mille, who was a ballerina and choreographer. This bear now had a name and a place in the gallery.
The rest of the bears were created and then given names based on small towns here in Alabama. Wilmer is a alpaca plush bear who wears a knitted carrot hat and hangs out in a galvanized watering can with a fresh picked radish. Elmore likes to show off the trout he caught in the river. His vest and hat are hand-stitched of leather and he has tiny fishing “lures” attached to his hat.
Leighton is a green mohair bear with metal dragonfly wings. His wings are accented with Swarovski crystals and he has a golden crown sitting slightly off-kilter on his head. Sousa is a red mohair bear with a vintage ribbon ruff and a blue leather top hat. His brass trumpet is just right for playing marches in a parade.
I had made two bears in very pastel colors. Shelby is of light pink mohair and Tibbie of a soft green synthetic plush. Since they reminded me of Easter colors, I paired each with a vintage tin egg, some paper “grass’, faux bird eggs and each has a little resin chick friend.
The last three bears created for this show were Hazel Green in a tipped brown mohair, Margaret in blue mohair, and Shiloh, in tipped beige mohair. Each has a nose of colored perle cotton and a ribbon with charm.
I enjoyed creating these bears and showing them to collectors at the Philly show. Murdoch and Agnes have been adopted, but the rest are still available and can be found in my Etsy shop. If you’d like to add one to your collection, click on over for adoption information.