Brushes are an important tool in a bear maker’s toolkit. Not only for the final brush, which of course makes your bear’s fur beautiful — ready for photos if you intend to post it online, etc., but for the little things along the way. When turning your bear right-side out, be sure to clean the seams.
In a recent competition I was judging, I was surprised to see how many bear makers do not clean the seams of their bears. It’s a simple step that should not be overlooked (and neglecting it can lose you some easy points in a competition, too). Just run your awl along the seam line or use a little comb like the pink- or red-handled ones shown here. Always be gentle to the fur when brushing, as you do not want to remove any fur from the backing fabric. Some will come away easier than others. A range of brushes as pictured can ensure you always have a suitable tool for the job.
Brushes do not have to be expensive. The little red one was picked up at a $2 shop and the pink comb for about $5 from a drugstore; it’s meant to be used to remove the hair from your own brushes. There are lots of little dog brushes on the market — just keep an eye out! The wooden brush was bought at a local craft fair at a woodturner’s stall; maybe you can have a local artist make you one for your tool kit.
With a careful brush, your bear will always look his best!
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.
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