Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Learning Journey in USA (Part 2) ~ Visit to the R. John Wright Studio

Joanne asked Wayne if there was anything he would like to do or visit any places of interest while in USA. Immediately, the first place that sprung to his mind was the R. John Wright Studio.

Wayne is a fan of R. John Wright's creations. He first learned about their products when he was working with the Toy Museum years ago.

The company was established in 1976 and has been producing some of the finest handmade toys for more than 40 years! Each creation is individually crafted and hand painted by their skillful craftsman.

We were welcomed by Ms Susan Wright on 2 May and we felt very privileged that she personally brought us around their factory located in Bennington, Vermont. The 3 storey high factory comprised of different departments. One of the department has a die-cut machine where pieces of felt were pressed to form shapes of the dolls/animals.

The workshop is so clean and neat!

A heavy duty die-cut machine

Pieces of felt are cut to shape and ready for molding

Ms Susan Wright showing us their latest project

The cut pieces were then molded and later sewn and stuffed. The other departments have several ladies painting doll eyes, whereas the other artisans were cutting and sewing pieces of fabrics to make outfits for the dolls.

Each bunny has been individually stuff
The eyes and face make up are meticulously hand-painted with steady hands!

MaryAnn, the airbrush artist
MaryAnn, the airbrush artist skillfully and effortlessly gave the easter bunnies colours and bought them to life!

We were all very impressed with a machine that enabled them to turn the bunnies inside out and an enormous stuffing machine which they use to fill up their creations with polyfiber!

Wayne and Susan

After the tour, we popped by the shop viewing gallery to admire the completed creations on sale. To our surprise, Mr John Wright appeared right in front of us and welcomed us! We were both thrilled to meet him and quickly took a group picture with John and Susan Wright.

L-R: Philip, John, Wayne and Susan

Bonzo the puppy!

At the end of the day, Wayne and Philip each bought a piece of creation from the shop. John personally gave a signed autograph to us as a souvenir. It was definitely one of the most memorable experience for Wayne and Philip. We hope to visit them again next time!

Wayne & Philip

Monday, May 29, 2017

Congratulations to Linda Hearn & Dale Edney for winning our Blog Give-away!

Thank you for all your support and participation for our 8th Anniversary Blog Give-away!

This time, our niece Lavigne is not at home, hence we decided to do a Facebook Live for the give-away!

We copied and pasted all the entries and used a Random Name Picker for the lucky draw!

Congratulations Linda! You won Marcus

Congratulations Dale! You won Zinnias

Congratulations to the 2 lucky winners, Linda Hearn (Canada) and Dale Edney (Australia) for winning Marcus and Zinnias! Yeah!!!

Thank you for the continued support! Till next time! =)


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Learning Journey in USA (Part 1) ~ Making a Realistic Bear with Joanne Livingston

Joanne Livingston is one of the best realistic bear artist based in USA. She has been making bears for more than 30 years! Her bears are all very highly sought after and highly priced due to all the intricate details she has given to a bear to make them realistic. Her techniques are extremely time consuming especially since she gave her bears needle felted faces and later root fur onto the felted faces. To enhance the realism, armatures were built internally so that her bears can pose as close to look like real ones.

Wayne has known Joanne for more than 7 years; from the very beginning when he first started bear making. Joanne has been his mentor as well as very best friend. Her works have been the greatest inspiration to Wayne to becoming a good bear artist. We have discussed for a long long time that we will visit USA one day to learn from Joanne.

Taken at the Philadelphia Airport. L- R: Philip, Wayne, David and Joanne

The day finally came that we did go. Joanne and her husband, David came to the airport and brought us to stay with them for 4 nights so that we can learn to make a realistic bear from her.

Joanne is a very experienced teacher. She has carefully planned all the instructions for us before we arrived. Prior to our arrival, we have sewn all the parts of the bear and applique all the paws and foot pads.

Joanne taught us how to build a lockline armature, how to needle felt the bear's face as well as rooting fur onto the face.

One of the challenges Wayne faced was rooting fur onto the bear's face. Extremely time consuming, each piece of fur need to be unraveled from the mohair fabic, sorted before rooting the good ones onto the bear's face. When rooting the fur, you need to observe the flow direction of the fur as well to determine the spaces between each fur. The angle which you insert the felting needle is also crucial. The whole process takes time and patience to complete. We really salute Joanne for all her determination and passion.

Due to the lack of time, Wayne and Philip managed to complete felting the face and worked on rooting only 1 side of the eyes. Joanne also showed us how to needle sculpt the paws and foot pads and later using colours to add shadings.

Work in progress bear.
Besides making a bear, Joanne also showed how to make a doll wig for Wayne's cute little doll, made by Nikki Britt!

Of course, we did have some fun time walking the puppies, Piko and Thor every morning! We are glad that they both liked us!

On the weekend, we visited the art flee market down the street.

After the many days of lessons, we are both confident that everything that we have learnt would be very useful for our future creations.

We want to specially thank our mentor Joanne for her time and patience for coaching us as well as her husband, David, for hosting us.

As a token of appreciation, Wayne gave Joanne one of his handmade squirrel, Chestnut.

We hope you enjoyed reading our learning journey :)

P.S: Like and follow Joanne's pages on Facebook!

Wayne & Philip

Monday, May 22, 2017

Polar Bear Workshop @ Science Centre, 22 & 23 July

Dear all, We will be conducting a Polar Bear Workshop during the Maker Faire at the Science Center on 22 & 23 July.

If you are interested to join us, you can register via the link below or email to:

Sunday, May 21, 2017

We are home! Learning Journey in USA

Greetings everyone! We are finally back home! We were away for 2 weeks as we traveled to USA! It was a long journey, taking us 22 hours in total flight time from Singapore!

Thankfully, we had a transfer in London after 13 hours which allowed us to get down from the plane to ease our stiff necks and legs.

In the next few blog posts, we are going to share our learning journey in USA. We still find it hard to believe that we learned from Masters in Bear Making Industries. Wayne and Philip took a private class from Joanne Livingston, and learned from Michelle Lamb during her workshop conducted at the Susan Quinlan Doll and Bear Convention. Not only that, we are so honored to be able to personally visit the R John Wright Studios and Kelly Dean.

This trip to USA is not a holiday for us, our main objective is to learn advance techniques from different teachers as well as to participate in the Susan Quinlan Doll & Bear Convention.

We will be writing much on our adventures and we hope you will enjoy reading our learning journey. 


Wayne & Philip

Friday, May 19, 2017

A special visitor from Japan!

On 15 May, Maki Manabe from Japan came to visit Singapore! She had arranged for Wayne to organise a meetup with the Singapore Teddy Bear Lovers Group members. Maki is also a bear artist, under the brand, "ALOHA BEAR". All of her creations are Hawaiian-style themed, each having their unique personality.

Maki choose the finest Japanese fabric to make her bears and animals. She has good judgement and taste in combining vibrant colours to make her bears stand out, and having that "Kawaii" factor. One look and you will definitely know it's made in Japan!

Our meetup was held in at Paradise Dynasty at Orchard Ion, having Tim Sum for dinner. We were glad that one of our members, Winnie was able to assist in the translations. Otherwise, we would have difficulty communicating with Maki-san!

L-R: Paula, Wayne, Philip,Chio, Maki, Amanda, Esther and Winne

After dinner, we met Esther and Paula for coffee. We took another group photo before we left for the night. Thank you Maki-san for visiting us. We hope to meet you again next time!

P.S: You can join Maki-san's FB page to view more of her wonderful creations!