Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Paperclay Folkart Christmas Ornaments Past

Thought you would like to see some of my past Christmas work and the types of things that adorn my tree each year. Each design starts off with a rough sketch, some Paperclay, armature wire, styrofoam, acrylic paints and various carving tools.
Christmas Paperclay Angel Ornament Limited Edition

Paperclay Roly Poly Elephant One Of A Kind

Roly Poly Chubby Rabbit

 Roly Poly Peter Rabbit

Roly Poly Bear

Roy The Redcoat Jointed Soilder

Jointed Limited Edition Clown Bear

Sheep Pull Toy Limited Edition

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New Gallery Bear With A Blue Cape Coat

A white winter bear for the gallery. So here she is already to be sent off to the gallery. She has beautiful blue eyes, a tilt growler, German glass glitter snowflake and a blue cordoroy cape coat. This is my first Victorian style cape coat design with a flowered liner and vintage leather buttons. I think this bear will particularily age well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Great Stuff" Sneak Peak

Introducing Timmy a bear in a book. 9" Timmy with a red wool scarf and bell, sits in his own little book box with an imitation fir sprig and vintage ornament. Timmy holds his very own German glittered bottle brush tree. He will be available at the "Great Stuff" Christmas Show at the Ferry Building Gallery in West Vancouver starting November 18th, 2011. He has a sweet face doesn't he?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Great Stuff" Show- Ferry Building Gallery

I am pleased to announce I will be taking part in the "Great Stuff" Gallery Show at the Ferry Building Gallery in West Vancouver. I will be selling bears big and small as well as Christmas paperclay ornaments. Admission is FREE.  Show opens November 17th, 2011 and ends December 18th, 2011. Click on the pic for more details.

Goofy Jack-O-Lantern

I still can't resist an afternoon of pumpkin carving. Photo via iPad 2 and Pixlr-o-matic.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Primitive Folkart by Owen Scott

Primitive Folkart Noah's Ark by Owen Scott

Some people seem to be born with an innate sense of art and design and not even know it, such as people like my friend Owen. He really doesn't think he's an aritist. He has no training but the training of life and trial and error. Yet yet everything he makes gives you that "WOW" and "I love it!" factor. You can tell each piece was made with the thoughts of a particular loved one in mind. He says that it's hard when someone wants him to make them one of his pieces of folkart because it's never the same. The feeling required just isn't there. I can really identify with this when you are making things that move the heart. 

Owen started with the gift of a whitling knife from his wife. She thought it would be a great way for him to unwind. On a vacation he took the knife and block of wood and made a little version of their cat, Gilligan. He graduated later to a scroll saw and a skill saw. He made large furniture like tables,cupboards, a bed. Anything his wife asked for really. 

This included bird houses for her beautiful garden.

Owen carves small birds and animals as well as using found objects in his work as is the case below of "Mr. Dundarave" made form driftwood found at Dudarave Beach in West Vancouver, BC.

 "Mr. Dundarave" by Owen Scott

Some of my favorite pieces are the automata pieces. The ones that turn with a crank and do an action, like sawing Uncle Sam and the Train Stop Man.

Owen's work inspires me. The sense of play, the simple yet sweet details and the feeling I get when I look at his work. It's stuff you want to touch and feel and play with.  I believe that what's in our hearts comes out in the things we create. I see warmth and love for his wife in every wood cut , scratched and painted patina.
I hope my work can always have the feeling that what I made was made for someone that I loved because I think that's our best work of all.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Freedom in the Design Process

Sometimes the design process can be a bit frustrating trying to get just the look that you want, especially when resizing and shrinking a pattern. I have tried a few techniques to get my resizing perfect all to no avail because of the geometric complexity of the pattern of curves and angles and the scaling of a pixel vs. the scaling of a regular rulers' inch. Shown above is a new prototype 12" bear. I make up a prototype bear in muslin fabric and then pin it together and mark the areas I want to change. This time I made 8 heads before I got the look I wanted.

I tried special "scaled rulers" at 1/2 scale and 3/4 scale which do a bit better job than scaling the pattern in Photoshop, but the angles were still off. (Some areas would be too chubby or too thin.) The height proportions were much better though. This technique works great for making clothing patterns to fit the bears as there aren't as many extreme curved shapes to deal with. To get some printable scale rulers visit this link. I found it very informative. I used the radial technique to shrink my bear patterns.

 I think it's time to do some freehand guess pattern making. This can be more freeing and satisfying since one isn't "trying" to make any particular look. This is when the good mistakes help you create something new and fresh. I took this approach with my drawing and it really helped my attitude that my drawings weren't "good enough" and improved my drawings. New respect goes out to those artists that can make their bears look the same no matter what size they are. It's a long process that requires patience and a bit of guess work. But, somewhere in there one has to keep that feeling of freedom to create whatever comes out. This is what truly gives one's work it's own identity and character.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Garden Friends

A little friend I saw in the garden on Sunday afternoon. One of four kits from one momma. He was popping in and out of the milk can like a wack a mole game. He has such long fingers. Perhaps he will be a piano player.
Now to get a good pic of the skunk that drinks out of the watering can.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Checkout my five new circus bears. Emmett, Bongo, Barnum, and Bingo are still available. Paypal buttons to come. Email me if interested!

Friday, July 1, 2011


Hey everyone! Sorry for the silence over the last couple of months. I've had alot of "life" going on and have been preparing and designing for the upcoming show. I've been experimenting with hand dyeing mohair and wool felt. I will post about that when I have some time.
 Just click on the pic above and it will  take you to the show preview. This show has something a bit different. You can vote for your favourite bear. You just have to click on that person's name. (Hint! Hint!)
 Get the word out! This look like a good show! I have 4 more bears to add to the one posted on the preview and all are smaller than my normal 16 inch bears. Newly offered will be 9" and 11" bears to fit a tighter budget.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

May this day fill you with joy and hope.
Some past Easter work. A jointed paperclay rabbit ornament dressed in her Easter dress and party ruffles.

A rainbow of colour!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Home Economics Sewing Book Review

Sew A Fine Seam 
by Violet Wilson
Balfour Technical School
Regina, Saskatchewan
Illustrations by Margaret Messer

  Finding this Home Economics sewing textbook from 1955 was like finding buried treasure. This book was written by my mother's Home Ec, teacher and illustrated by the art teacher at the same school. I found it at an antique book shop complete with the previous owner's signature and her receipt for the book. Lois Bristol, if you're out there I have your Home Ec. sewing book! She like almost everyone of her day had incredible penmanship. A technique I unfortunately did not pick up.
 "Sew A Fine Seam" is simply and beautifully illustrated with incredible lithographs. Lines are smooth, colours are simple and the pics just say "hey it's the 50's!", and I love it. The illustrations are easy to understand when giving descriptions.

 Written for grade 9 girls, this book is incredibly complete covering all aspects of garment sewing including how to identify fabrics,designing for body types, colour choices, fitting, altering, and tailoring. One of the most interesting pages found at the beginning of the book is about using the "Burning Test" to identify fabrics. You can tell if a fabric is a mix by unravelling crosswise and lengthwise threads and using the "burn test" by burning the threads individually in a porcelain dish. The odor, ash or speed of burn will tell you what kind of textile you have.

"Sew A Fine Seam" is easy to read and follow for the beginner. I only took grade 8 home ec. However our teacher never showed up half the tme. I was sick for a while and the teacher gave me a "D" for done since I had missed so many classes. Though my work was better than most in the class, she thought my mother did my sewing. So with all the uninspiring events I decided not to take Home Ec. in high school for fear of being labeled little Susie homemaker. Sounds weird but that's what happened. I felt it was far beneath my scientific mind. Looking back, if I was really that smart, I would have taken it for now I find myself in need of the skills that would have been taught. So far I haven't found a book that is its equal written for today with such comprehensive content. The reason for my interest in sewing books was that I had wanted to start making clothes for my bears and wanted a professional finished look. "Sew A Fine Seam" gave me a deeper understanding of the basics of fabrics, sewing and tailoring. This is a must read for those who would like to start sewing or even altering their own clothes. 
 My next sewing book review will be on hierloom sewing. If you have a suggestion for a sewing book review or just have suggested reading for me, just email me or make a comment on this post. I am particularily interested in older text books. Do you still have your Home Ec. sewing book? Tell me about it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Teddies Worldwide Announcement!

I am pleased to announce that I will be taking part in the Teddies Worldwide Online Show this July. This show has a "bears on parade" theme. I love clown bears so this show should be alot of fun. This will be a chance for you to purchase one of my one of a kind heirloom bears. I will post a teaser pic next month. Hope you can join me!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cross Eyed Cross Stitch

Finally finnished my first cross stitch pillow I started in January. Such tiny work required magnifying glasses. By the time I was done I felt cross eyed. This cross stitch design is by Not Forgotten Farms. Happy Christmas, late birthday, early Easter Val!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Photoshop Watercolour Art Cards

I decided to start making a collection of art cards of my work that will be available for purchase through my ETSY SHOP.  Seen here is a photo of Pentunia and Jack Rabbit that I did a bit of watercolour treatment in Photoshop CS3 on. You will be able to purchase singles and card packs. There will most likely be a series of rabbits and a series of bears. Look for the cards in a month or so.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Make Over For Mr. Bing

Mr. Bing got a make over for the Eldred- Droilet wedding on NewYears Eve. Mr. Bing is seen here in his velvet Lord Fontleroy jacket and bow-tie in his room at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC.
Seen below Mr. Bing in his origianl clown outfit.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Some Bunny To Watch Over You"

A warm loving bunny off to someone in need of comfort. God's speed little bunny!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Victorian Paper Theatre

For Christmas I recieved this Cinderella reproduction Victorian Paper Theatre. Lots of fun to put together. They also give you a card with all the characters lines on it. Seen here is Cinderella and her ugly step sisters. Though I think one of them needs a moustache. I just love the uniqeness of this gift!