Earth Angel Bears

Last week, while trying to declutter, I discovered a half-finished bear from my bear-making days. I looked into the seed bead eyes of this limb-less creature, and I felt a deep need to finish it, and bring it to life, after it had been stuck in a bag in the loft for the last seven years.

Once she was properly ‘alive’ I found I just couldn’t stop. In the last week, I have created several new bears, and have also designed new wings, as I decided to restock my empty etsy shop with ‘Earth Angel Bears’.

I started making bears when I was a teenager, and my very first bear was a sad little creature called Doddle. I blogged about Doddle a while back. He took me a whole week to make, and though I felt a sense of satisfaction at actually finishing him, he really didn’t look quite right! But after several years of making bears, creating my own patterns, honing and much practice, my bears finally started looking like real bears.

Over the course of 7 years, I made nearly 100 bears, and sold many of them, giving others away as gifts. I kept very few of them, three of which are the Old Souls I have listed on etsy – Mulberry, Robert and Gwri.

Just before I went into retirement, I had started to make hand-felted faerie wings for my bears, because I wanted them to fly. I sold a few, including Floyd, a bright pink bear with purple wings who went to live in New York. Then for some reason, somehow, I stopped making bears. Right in the middle of creating one, who I have now called Leilani. She is an incarnated Faerie bear, and I think she’s rather lovely:

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The biggest thing I have realised this week, is that I have really missed creating physical things. I’ve painted a few cards in the last few months, and done the odd creative project, but creating these little characters is something different entirely. It has given me a sense of accomplishment to see them lined up, ready to go to their new homes where they will be loved and where they will help people to Awaken! It makes me feel like Velvet, creating her Earth Angel army to send to Earth to help bring about the Golden Age! (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my first book 😉 )

I feel like my life is almost entirely digital, and it’s not unusual for me to spend 12 hours or more a day staring at some kind of screen. Which make me feel a little bit sad. So it’s been a complete joy to set the screens aside and create beautiful little ones. I do hope you fall in love with them too! I have created a Facebook page, and I would love for you to check them out on etsy and to share them with your friends.

Here’s a picture of Honesty and Larry, named in honour of Aria and her ladybug friend from The Earth Angel Training Academy.

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Imperfection? It’s a doddle…

I have been inspired to write this post by two things. I am doing an eCourse with Brene Brown at the moment. It’s a 6 weeks course based on her book – The Gifts of Imperfection. I found a video of her on Youtube a few weeks ago and I was hooked immediately. I love the way she talks, how she is so open and honest and authentic, and how she put things in such a simple yet profound way. The course is in its second week now, and I am enjoying the art journaling, it’s been a while since I let myself mess around with paints and not worry about the outcome.

Something that I’ve begun to admit openly recently, is my inability to be imperfect. Sounds crazy, I know, but when it comes to trying something new, if I can’t do it right straight away – I’m usually not interested. Unless of course, I can practice in secret where no one can see/hear me, and then when I’ve perfected it, reveal it, looking all shiny and amazing. Yet, I’ve always encouraged people to try things, to experiment. When I worked in Buck’s Rock Summer Camp, my motto was ‘the wonkier the better’. I would encourage the campers to just create, and enjoy the process, and not worry about whether it was perfect. After all, the more imperfect it was, the more handmade it looked, and therefore people knew how much love and effort had gone into the making of it. When I worked in Derby College in the art department, it was a similar story. I would encourage the students to be creative, to experiment, and to not be afraid to do it wrong or to fail, because they could just keep trying. I would then tell them the story of Doddle.

Sometimes, there have been times that my first attempt at something was truly terrible, but for some reason, I was inspired to keep trying. One day, my mum had a craft magazine, that featured a mini fabric teddy bear. In the article, it said – ‘This little bear is a doddle to make in an evening.’ Well, mine took me a week, and was a painfully slow and frustrating process. My mum’s attempt went in the bin after a few hours. But I finished mine, and here was the end result:

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Though I find him to be quite endearing now, he is still so incredibly imperfect. The stitching is terrible, the shape is awful, I didn’t figure out how to attach his ears, so they have ragged edges, the list of his imperfections is huge. But do you know what? Every person who has met Doddle has fallen in love with him. I went on to make many more bears, getting a little better each time. I started making them from bear felt, which was easier to use than fabric. My friend worked in a Traditional Toy Shop, and she sold many of my bears in there for me. Then, after a year of two, I started using mohair. It was a big step for me, because mohair is over £100 a metre. My first few mohair bears weren’t perfect, but I still found families to adopt them. After a while, I was creating bears like Robert:

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He still may not be perfect, but he is a million times better than my first attempt. (sorry, Doddle!) And all it took to get from one to the other, was time, practice, patience and perseverance.

I plan to keep Doddle on my computer as a reminder that as Brene would say, Imperfection and vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity. And that I am imperfect, and I am enough. (As is Doddle 🙂 )

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