Saturday, 25 February 2012

Progress and Insanity

Well it's less than two weeks until the first previews for the Teddies Worldwide Show are up and my elephant is continuing to challenge me: not always a good thing! I've spent today wrestling him into submission though, and will be working on his costume tonight: I hope you'll love him when he's all finished. I've been playing around with my new photo tent which I've bought for the upcoming show and I love the results already: hope you like this shot of The Bomb! Work on my show pieces is going pretty well and I have almost made all the bears I need for my minimum quota: I want to add a hare and a sloth to my five bears and an elephant so time is precious to me right now...

Careful also found a home this week and has already arrived with his new mum, but I did get one last light tent photo sesh in before he got packaged up... I can't remember if I said before but last week Careful found fame on the popular website Deviantart: he was a featured piece of artwork for a day! It's like teenage me's dream come true :D

As for the insanity, yesterday I went (under non-violent duress from the boyf) to see 'The Woman In Black' as a relaxing, recreational after-work thing. Normally I hate horror films but I figured hey, it's a 12A: what's the worst that could happen?? Full of chinese buffet we rolled in during the adverts and settled down to be mildly thrilled.

Well as it happens the worst that could happen is me coming home, physically scared of anything with glass eyes and wanting to die to avoid being scared: less worried for the souls of the children I teach, more for myself and my sanity. Anyway, the logical thing to do in this situation is hide the dolls and bears and so on away, right? Well as I was planning to do this I thought 'oh no, then they'll think I hate them and will wreak horrible vengeance on me. Clearly any punishment is more likely to come from those I've neglected in the last week or so'. As a result in order to placate a fictional character who actually has nothing to do with toys at all I have taken lots more photos today alongside my sewing.

I hate horror films.

Chloe and the Lugly's xxx

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

How I Design Things :)

Well, seeing as it's now half term I have a LOT of sewing to do this week to catch up with my minimum number for the Teddies Worldwide Tea Party show, I thought I could waste some time writing a post about how I design new creatures :P I'm hoping to design, trial and finish an Indian Elephant for the show which is something I've never made before: I'd need to have it finished in time for the March 7th preview deadline too so it might not be feasible, but I'm always ready to take on a daft challenge :P
I started this beastie by doodling in my lectures last week: normally I do all my drawings from reference pics so these aren't that accurate, but it did let me think about adding something new to my work: a loc-line skeleton. I've read a lot about using this stuff on Joanne Livingston's awesome blog and I'm hoping it will allow me to give this ellie a bendable trunk and spine... if not I've just made a pointless, jointless all-in-one body and head pattern for no reason :P

When I got home I looked for better references on the internet. It's probably no great surprise that a lot of my references come from Disney as I am a massive Disney nut. I love the elephants and hippos in Fantasia and so I started there and found loads of character references to build on. I also went to Chester Zoo this weekend with my boyfriend and got snapping! Best bit? Watching a big male peeing on a baby elephants head, and then seeing the baby drinking the wee from the floor of the enclosure. Wow, elephants are classy :P

Anyway, weeing ellies aside, today I've started the long, loooooong process of working out a pattern. I think a lot of bear makers have the skill to just see a bear in their heads and form their 2D patterns mentally, but I don't have the skill to do that: I have to sculpt and drape. What I do is get a load of tin foil (a-loooo-min-um foil for my American friends :D) and scrunch it up into a vague animal shape. I then layer plasticene over the top: using tin foil means less plasticene to struggle with! Usually I sculpt head and body seperately (sometimes on different scales too!) but this guy is all in one as you can see from the photo. Now it doesn't have to be perfect as the detail is added later with needle sculpting: all I get at this point is hollows that need darts and the general pattern shape. To do this I lay plastic from A4 plastic ringbinder wallets over the sculpt in straight lines and then pin it into place, marking seam lines and darts as I go. I started at the top and worked my way down with this guy because that piece was the easiest part!

Anyhoo, now I have paper versions of those initial pieces ready to go. Ideally what I should do now is use canvas to make a practise version because they rarely go well the first time but ARGH the mohair is calling me... what I may do instead is make a paper version by using sellotape to hold the pieces together so I can check the fit.... shouldn't, but probably will.

I hope that makes sense? It really works for me and I'm hoping for some budding bear artists out there, this might be a trigger for your designs too :)

Chleo and the Lugly's xxx

P.S. Mmmm.... tasty wee.....

Saturday, 4 February 2012

"Careful" the Sloth of Love

Carelful Close Up by Je Suis Lugly!
Careful Close Up, a photo by Je Suis Lugly! on Flickr.

Every year I try to make a Sloth of Love with a sweet heart theme, usually around St. Valentines day. I wasn't sure I'd get the chance to make one this year becuase of my hectic teaching schedule but last week half my classes were cancelled because of school trips and so I had a lot less planning to do, hurrah! (sadly I'm back to busy from next week!).

Careful is one of my little Sloths, sitting at about 11". I've hand needlefelted his sweet face and chosen deep brown eyes with suede lids for him. As with all my sloths he has a double jointed neck so he's a really expressive boy: you can pose him with lots of different expressions. He can even hang from his claws like a real sloth (although don't leave him hanging too long!). You can see a lot more photos of him on my Flickr account.

His heart shaped nose makes me think of the Care Bears, hence his name!

I'd love to find him a new home. His adoption fee is £150 or $235 and I will ship him free first class if he finds a home before St. Valentines day cuz i'm feeling a little loved up myself right now :)

**** Careful is adopted! Thank you for your interest everyone :) ****

Have a good one!

Chloe and the Lugly's xxx

PS. If you haven't already, please sign up to my mailing list (top right of this page) and/or Facebook as I'm feeling a giveaway coming on and will use those to announce it :)