Update: Kaleb has been sold
Lately, I’ve been buying vintage faux fur coats to use for material for my bears. I think that the quality of the fur is superior to the plush yardage I’ve found. The fur jacket that eventually became Kady the Kermode Bear was in beautiful shape, like it had never been worn. So, when I saw an identical jacket on Ebay, I bought it, hoping to make another bear like Kady. When I unpacked it from the mailing box, I noticed right away that it didn’t look the same. However,when I checked the lining I saw an identical label. The only difference was that this coat had definitely been worn and washed many times. This was probably someone’s favorite jacket. The fur was somewhat matted and fluffy, much the way distressed mohair fabric looks. And while the mohair is distressed by a machine, knowing that this had been ‘distressed’ gradually each time the owner washed it and brushed it out, made it seem more special, as if it had a story to tell. I knew I was not going to make another bear like Kady. I was going to make an old bear. Not an old bear as in a bear that has been worn out, like an antique bear, but rather,an old character. Meet Kaleb…
I needle felted the face so I could create a lot of character, a few wrinkles, the softness that comes with time. The sculpted nose is shaded in a way that shows wear, a little fading. I have to say that looking at my 14 year old dog’s face was helpful in noticing the changes in an animals face as they age. The eyes are a little less bright, the ears a bit droopy, the face is white and the nose has lost a bit of color. But with all that, I tried to create a look that went beyond physical changes and tried to convey a kind and wise personality with maybe a bit of melancholy.
I did add one little accessory. It’s a toy pocket watch. It has a picture of Kady inside. Was she his sweetheart from years ago? Or is he her grandfather? So many possible stories.
Kaleb is 23″ tall. His face is needle felted in many layers of wool and shaded for character. His nose is custom sculpted from polymer clay and colored to look aged. He is fully jointed with a double neck joint so he can tilt his head in any direction. Kaleb’s pawpads are suede and his toes are painted. He is stuffed with polyfil and his arms are wired for bending. He wears a satin tie. A signed certificate is included.