martedì 30 ottobre 2012

Vladimir Igel

It took quite some time, but my dear hedgehog is finally finished. I've just given him a name. His name is Vladimir Igel.
This hedgehog of mine makes me smile all the time. I'm not sure I'll be selling him right away, I want to make tons of pictures of him, and keep him with me a little while.
Oh yes, I'm really proud of this little fellow! I'm very happy because I finally found a way to make his legs exactly like I wanted them to be. It wasn't that easy, this design is very different from any other that I have done before. The concept will come in handy in the future for other animals, when I want an arm that has flat hands parallel to the ground and a slim shoulder.
I also did a lot of work on his face. Part of his needle felted head has rooted in mohair. I gave him a V shaped hairline! It took long, but I think it was worth it. Ok, here are some of the first pictures!

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mercoledì 24 ottobre 2012

Hedgehog face: work in progress!

I know it is way too early to say that he has a face...but even if it needs a lot of work yet I can see now how he will look. That it is a 'he'. He already makes me smile!
He still has position eyes, a felt template nose, a pinned down thread for a mouth, but he already smiles! He is an optimist, he knows that even if I don't have much time to finish him fast, I think about him, and I will take care of him as soon as I can! :-)

This is the part I like most, doing their faces, and seeing that they are coming to life!

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domenica 21 ottobre 2012

Hedgehog: work in progress

My dear hedgehog is taking shape.

The fur I'm using is really very nice. I finally found some time to cut the templates...
Here they are. Well, not all of them as I haven't designed the  legs yet. I will do them when all the rest is done.

I always keep all my work in progress in that basket, so that I can carry it around the house if I'm not working in my hobby room.
And here is the body. I have stuffed it to see if it is coming out like I wanted it.
Here it has no head and no backbone yet
Here it is, with its head attached
....and yes, he can fold unto himself! :-)

He still has no face. My next step will be doing his face!

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venerdì 19 ottobre 2012


I define my style as 'modern with realistic detailing'. I don't do exact copies of animals, but I'm gradually experimenting with new techniques that allow me to add realistic detailing to my animals. Clay noses, claws, body wiring....they all have a role in it.
I'm now developing my own design for a hedgehog. I love those sweet little fellows, and I have bought some great Schulte mohair that is really perfect for this project.
I want my hedgehog to be able to fold unto himself like real hedgehogs do to defend themselves. I think I have the body design just right to do that. At least, it works very well on the cotton prototype. I hope it will look good with the mohair too.
These are some of the pictures I keep looking at for an inspiration:
 I just love this little fellow, and his funny feet.

I'm still mulling in my head several possibilities for the arms and legs. I'm still not quite sure, I will need to sleep over it. I might design them after I have done the rest....I'm quite impatient to see how the design works with the mohair! :-)

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martedì 16 ottobre 2012


It's a girl!
it's funny, but mostly my bears are male. At some point while I'm working on them, they let me know what gender they are going to be. It it like being pregnant and doing an echography. I know it is so for many other bear makers, we don't get to decide, it is just so.
Well, this time it was a girl, and she started telling me pretty soon. So, here she is. She is also quite photogenic I think. Maybe she had fun helping me out with the nose tutorials and couldn't wait to be photographed again! ;-)

I have used again the body wiring. Again I'm very happy about it. She can really be posed in so many fun ways!

Her name is Mia. And she is very very proud of her ribbon, she loves to pose and play with it!

Mia now lives in the USA!

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giovedì 11 ottobre 2012

Attaching polymer clay nose to needle felted face TUTORIAL

My Fimo nose is now ready to be attached to the bear face!

I want it to be firmly attached, so that it doesn't come off, and it doesn't move. I use both glue and thread to be on the safe side!
My personal choice as materials go is:
-Thread: waxed dental floss. It is very resistant.
-Glue: Pattex repair extreme. It is not important the brand. What I like is that is is an extremely resistant glue, good for binding practically any material, and not too fast to dry. I don't want glue such as loctite that dry too fast and give no time to adjust your nose position!
Take a long thread of dental floss (about 60-70 cm) and double it. Insert it doubled into your needle. You will need a long sturdy needle (a doll needle).

Step 2
Insert the needle into the hole previously made on the bear nose area. (See TUTORIAL on making the nose).
The 'nose hole'

The needle should go through the head. About a third of the thread should come out back. The rest you will need in front.
Take the thread that is coming out of the 'nose hole' and insert it into the nose metal loop.
Step 4
Insert again the thread into your needle.

Step 5
Insert the needle into the 'nose hole'. You should go exactly where the other threads are.
Your needle should come out close to the back threads, but not exactly in the same spot.
Step 6
Now you have to move the exiting threads so that they come out of the other threads' hole. This is so that when you will later bind them together, they will disappear into the head without breaking the fabric. To do this:
-insert back the needle through his exiting hole and direct it towards the other threads hole.It should come out through exactly the same hole.
It is hard to explain, a picture will help understand:

Now all threads come out the same hole. Grasp them all and pull tightly, to be sure that they are all evenly pulling your nose in place.
Step 7
Pull your nose out about 3cm from the muzzle.

Put a generous drop of glue on the nose back, all around the metal loop. Careful not to put too much, and keep it clear from the edges.
Step 8
Holding the nose from the sides, gently pull the threads that are in the back of the head. They will slowly pull your nose towards the muzzle. Check that the nose orientation is right while you are doing it. Your glue will give you time to make adjustments after the nose is in place. When the nose is properly positioned, pull the threads some more so that the nose fits snugly on the needle felted muzzle. Clean any glue that might have come out the edges.
Step 9
Let your glue dry. Don't be in a hurry to knot the back threads. If you work on the knots while the glue is not dry, you might move the nose...and end up with a lopsided one! :-(
Here is the nose waiting for the glue to dry.

Step 10
When the glue has dried, you are ready to tie the threads on the back of the head. I always find it irritating when the fur gets caught in your knots. My personal solution to this little problem is a disc of paper with a hole in the middle. You put the threads through the hole, and the knotting has no hair caught!
I tie four knots, quite tight so that they go through the fabric into the head. Then, using my doll needle, I take all threads through the head a couple of times, always going back in where they come out. After that any loose strand can be trimmed away.
At this stage, I could be happy with my nose and let it be. But no. Even when molded on the bear face, the Fimo nose to me looks a little like what it is: a nose that has been attached to the bear. I want it to have a natural look, to blend my nose as best as I can to the face.
Take some wool - the same you have used to needle felt the face. It should be the right length to go round the nose.

Poke it with your needle a little on the sponge, but don't felt it too much. Then put it around the nose, with the two 'tails' meeting under the nose. With your needle start poking in that area until both ends of the wool strip are attached to the muzzle.

With your needle, poke the wool all around the nose. You want this wool to be perfectly blended with the previous needle felting, but some loose wool should be left on the nose edges. You can repeat the process if you think more wool is needed to fill the gap.

This is the final result. It is a matter of personal taste, I like this finishing a bit loose, the needle felting not too hard.

After that, my nose is ready for the final touch...shading!

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