Sinew is another term for tendon, which is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue, joining muscles to bones. It has a gristle-like appearance and has been used for many things since ancient time, because sinew is strong and will not stretch.
Sinew or a modern substitute is still used for a few bear-making steps – for ladder stitching, sculpting, and of course, inserting the eyes. You can find sinew in varying thickness and colors. Artificial sinew and waxed nylons or polyester are also strong, and preferred by many artists. Choose your sinew (or substitute) to suit your requirements.
I like to use waxed polyester for working with mink, as it splits easily and is not too sticky, so it won’t get caught in the fur. Waxed polyester is available from good equestrian stores, leatherworking suppliers, or stores that supply or restore saddles, etc.
Australian bear artist Helen Gleeson runs Bare Cub Designs, where she offers her own creations as well as patterns and bear-making tutorials. She also runs the website Easy Artspace, which aims to help artists start their own businesses. E-mail your questions and topic suggestions for this blog to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.