A Bear from Russia with Love

One of the features of artist teddy bears is how different artists play with proportion. My bears usually have more human proportions, but other artists distinguish their work with larger heads, longer bodies, big feet, etc. Placement of facial features also plays an important part in marking an artist’s work as their own design.package

I love adding bears to my collection that exhibit characteristics that are different from my designs, but still convey an old classic teddy bear feel.

Today, I went to the post office as soon as they opened to pick up a package from artist Olya Isaenkova. The post is slow from Russia to the U.S. and I had almost forgotten about this purchase.  When I received the delivery notice it was my husband who suggested it was probably “another bear thing” and then it hit me!  I could barely sleep in anticipation!

Tulip arrived snuggled in tissue paper and bubble wrap tied up with string and a cute tag.  I wasted no time when I arrived at my office and soon had her set free.

TulipMeetsFriendOf course, one of my bears was on hand to greet her. I nearly always have a bear with me in my purse or on my desk. You never know when a welcoming committee will be required.

From the top of her head to the heel of her tiny ballerina-like feet Tulip is about 6 inches tall.  She is made of a delicate jade green short sparse mohair and will look pretty with my turquoise bears.

Olya stuffs her bears with pine sawdust.  They have a good weight and a bit of a pleasant crunchy feel. She has embroidered a tulip with silk ribbon on the bear’s tummy.

TuliponComputerI think what drew me to Olya’s bears was the long body paired with long slender limbs, small ears and a tiny snout. The shape of the face and placement of the features are child-like and endearing. She used the same size onyx beads for eyes that I did on my 4 inch bear – tinier than what some artists would choose for the head size, but this choice enhances Tulip’s winsome expression.


The two little friends will sit on my computer today and supervise me as I work. It makes my work day more pleasant to be surrounded by the things I love.

I can’t wait to see how Tulip looks with my turquoise and teal bears.  They will make a very spring-like grouping! And look – she matches my McCoy pottery!


To Market, To Market…I Bought a Pig

Tiny Steiff PigLast Sunday, I went to Midwest Art and Antique Show and Collector’s Eye in Cedar Rapids with friends Linda Dorr and Pam Bostwick.  If you read my blog or follow me on Facebook, you know that this is one of my favorite shows.  Most of the stuff on the Midwest Art and Antique Show side is way more expensive than I can usually afford, but as I was perusing one booth, I spotted this little pig.

The price was reasonable and when I showed it to the exhibitor, she laughed, said she had picked it up somewhere because it caught her eye, and lowered the price.  I happily paid and tucked him into my bag.

There is no ear tag or even a hole where one would have been, but this looks like the classic tiny velvet version of Steiff’s pink Jolanthe pig.  Some this size were attached to pin cushions.  The exhibitor had a lot of textiles, antique doll dresses and the like, so maybe this was in someone’s sewing basket.  It’s possible the felt parts – ears, nose and chin – were replaced because they are much cleaner than the velvet. The bright blue eyes, stance and airbrushing are typical Steiff.  In fact, my daughter has a larger mohair pig in this design that my husband brought from Germany for her when she was just a baby.

He is firmly stuffed and has held his shape well.  He even has a little curly wired tail. He measures about 10.5 centimeters or 4 inches from nose to heel and just about 2 inches from top of head to toe.

I have not attempted to clean this little guy. After all, he is a pig.  If anyone has any ideas about cleaning him, let me know.

PigsideIn the meantime, I will just enjoy this fellow sitting on my computer at my office.