THIS is the massive batch of bears we have been working on for the last few weeks. If you have been following along on our facebook page you will have seen all of our progress pictures, but I'll post them again here. They do tell the story of the bear's creation better then I can with words.
The photo below shows the mohair we used for this batch, along with all of the cut and pinned pieces - bagged up as individual bears so we didn't confuse things. It's so easy to loose the small pieces (ears, paw pads etc) when making multiple bears at once - so we always try to bag each one as we go, and only pull them out to sew. (Despite this, I still managed to loose one bear's paw pads, but thankfully had extra mohair to cut more!)
Then came the mammoth sewing task. I think all up it ended up being about 10 hours behind the sewing machine.
Then another day was taken up with the task of jointing all of the limbs to the respective bodies (this was another situation where I had to be careful not to mix pieces up!). The photo below is hard to make out - but it shows all dozen of the bears upside down, still inside of their individual bags, but with bodies jointing and legs sticking up. It was like a bouquet of floppy feet!
After jointing came stuffing. I decided to get the more tedious task of limb stuffing and seam closing finished first. My reward would be being able to then start on the faces once all of the arms and legs were done. With a batch of twelve bears there are 48 limb seam openings that need to be closed as well. Needless to say this stage represented another couple of days of work!
THEN came the fun bit - faces! I decided to do the faces in smaller batches of 4 at a time. I'd stuff each head in turn, close the neck seams as a batch, trim cheeks, sculpt eye sockets, set eyes, embroider noses and attach ears. I had to work out what outfit each toddler would be wearing at this stage so I could coordinate the noses and the ears (some noses match the outfits, while some bears needed lower-set or higher-set ears to accommodate hats or headbands).
After about a week, I then had a couch full of empty-belly bears. The heads were finished and attached, the limbs were finished (from earlier), but the bellies are always the last bit I stuff. Once I got those bellies full, and the back seam openings closed - we soon had a small army of toddler bears sitting up to attention.
Each bear was then dressed and photographed over the span of two days (it always surprises me just how long it takes to photograph the bears. Times that by 12 teddies - and the photography steals a significant time chunk as well).
The sun was setting on the second day of photography, but I had all of the bears set up and ready for the group shot - so I had to work fast. This little lady was waiting patiently to be positioned in her spot.
And then, all of a sudden, the bears were done! Photos were taken and commissioning collectors were contacted. One of the biggest batch-creations of bears I had ever attempted was over - and just in time for easter!
All twelve of the bears have now been adopted, but I will upload all of the individual photos to this blog post, as I think they all deserve to be showcased. I won't include anymore text from this point on though as it will take you long enough to scroll through all the photos without having to stop and read as well.