Saturday, 4 April 2015

it was a crazy idea...

I get ideas all the time. I never know when something will just pop into my head so I have numerous notebooks scattered around the house, in hand-bags and coat pockets so I'll always have somewhere to write them down. If I don't write an idea down as soon as possible it's all too easy to forget what it was or to recall it with clarity later on.

Some ideas stay in my notebook for years before I finally work on them. Others I lose enthusiasm for and just forget about. And some of the more bizarre or massively complicated ideas are dismissed immediately with a "I'd never be able to do that" or a "that'd take far too long" or a "I don't even know where to start making that!". But once in a while one of those instantly dismissable ideas just plain refuses to go away. It just sits there in my brain gnawing away, poking the inside of my head with a stick and generally interfering with everything else I might be thinking about.

That's what happened to me about 18 months ago. I don't remember now what I was doing at the time but suddenly 'bink!' an idea just popped in there and wouldn't leave. It sounded simple on the surface - make all of the Avengers from the Marvel comics and films as miniature teddy bears. I've been making bears for over 18 years now, so that wasn't really so much of a challenge. But the bear I could see in my mind's eye, the one that set the whole thing rolling, and my particular favourite character and super hero, was the Iron Man bear. And in my mind, just like in the films, he lit up. "That's bonkers", I thought, and tried to forget about it. But I'd set myself a challenge now - figure out how to put lights into the eyes, paws, feet and chest of a 3 inch bear...

Like Deep Thought my brain had to chew all of this over for a very long time. I made Captain America first, so that I could get the project started. The only problem I had there was finding some metallic red paint that wasn't just all pink looking.

The hulk came next with a chance to do a little bit of toe and finger sculpting. The first one I made looked too small so I made a bigger 6 inch bear.

Then I went back to Iron Man. I had worked out some things fairly quickly - all the easy stuff. The basic pattern pieces were done and tested on some scraps - that was Iron Bear MkI. But as I hit each problem I just left it to stew in my head, hoping answers would come to me in time. I discovered some tiny micro LED lights. I figured out I could sew little clear polythene discs into the paws, feet and chest for the lights to shine through - that was Iron Bear MkII.

I realized that I was going to have to line the whole of the inside of each piece with black felt to stop it all just glowing through the fabric, which made sewing alot more difficult.  That was Iron Bear MkIII.
Then I had to work out the route of the lights and wires through the body, and especially how I was going to put the eyes in place. All of these problems turned my usual bear-making routine on its head. I could witter on for hours about needle-sculpting, neck joints, how many packs of lights I ruined....but I'm sure if you've read this far you're getting bored now and just want to see the pics. This (and as a geek-girl, it makes me so happy to say it) is Iron Bear MkIV. :D

I don't mind telling you when I finally switched those lights on on the completed bear I was bouncing off the walls and grinning like a loon.

I was on such a high finishing this piece that I just sailed through making Thor's costume in a matter of days - it all just seemed to fall into place.

So, 18 months in the making and my four main guys are all completed. Hawkeye and Black Widow are nearly ready to be photographed and now I'm really looking forward to Age of Ultron opening in a few weeks time so I can see the new characters (I've been avoiding all the trailers and clips cos I hate spoilers) and I'm also working on an Agent Coulson because he may only wear a regular suit but he is totally cool too. :)