Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mr. Bear and Me

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Today’s Blog Post
Mr. Bear and Me
As some of you know I am a wood carver. In fact this Blog is sponsored by my Wood Carving Business. The Blog leads many people to my Web Site – which I blatantly promote. The wood carving pays some bills – thank you very much (grin).

In doing the wood carving I often am moved deeply as the product I am carving takes on new life. Something happens when I am carving it. It seems to come alive.

Yesterday that happened on two fronts.

First – while I was sitting at my demonstration table at the Mall yesterday a young boy came with his dad to look at the carvings that I had set out.

The boy saw a “Dancing Dan” that I had carved and exclaimed, “Look Dad – its Pinocchio!” I grinned when I heard that one.

As most of you know Pinocchio was the wooden boy that came to life. His “father”, Mr. Geppetto, was a wood carver. He and his wife had no children. After he carved the wooden doll, it came to life.

It is a cute story that shows children if they tell a lie, their nose can grow… but if they tell the truth they will be okay (see reference below). BUT for me it was more than that. It was a Wood Carver’s story where the character or item he works on takes on a new life.

I know that feeling very well.

Second – yesterday early Mr. Bear headed off to Britain. One of my own took leave of Canada and climbed aboard a large aircraft and headed across the Atlantic Ocean. Wow! That was a hard moment to say the least.

Mr. Bear had been with me for a little over one year. I carved him along with about a dozen other bears at the same time. Each character had a similar amount of me placed in them. I loved each one with my hands and carefully carved each face with special care. Each bear came alive and each bear found a home – all in different parts of Canada.

Now to say I loved each one and applied special care sounds odd doesn’t it?

Well here is how it happens.

As I select a bear for his operation I look them over carefully. I study the face that he has been given by the original designer. Some faces are pretty bland and others have a certain character or feeling to it. But each one is lifeless at that point.

Next I put them to sleep by turning them over. I carefully search for the stitching that was applied to the back of his or her head. Inserting my scalpel I cut the first thread, then the second until the cutting exposes the brain of the bear. I carefully lift the brain from the Teddy Bear and sit it aside near the operating table.

I then carefully reach inside and do the next step of the double eye-ectomy which is followed by a nose-ectomy as well.

At this stage the Teddy Bear appears to stop breathing and lays lifeless. It is as if his whole being is now gone. Almost like a truck has run over the poor little guy.

The Teddy Bear must lay still during the next stages in order to prevent more loss of stuffing and bodily matter.

The new face is carved and his eyes are placed carefully into the new eye sockets. The new nose is ready and the face is them applied to the head – over the place where his old face used to be.

This is perhaps the trickiest part of the surgery. The face must be held tightly in place as it is fastened to his head. It cannot be tilted one way or the other. It must be straight.

Once the face is attached the brain must be put back so that Teddy can thing think straight again. With the brain in the proper place again, the head is sutured up.

As the Teddy Bear is turned over he takes a deep breath, it comes to life. The big smile that he has beams and he becomes “real” to me. It is about this time that he or she may get their new name – almost like a new human baby does.

Yep I am a whole lot like Pinocchio’s dad, Mr. Geppetto.

That was part of the story behind Mr. Bear. Mr. Bear came alive in 2010 – a whole year ago.

When I did a show or had a special sale, all the other Teddy bears were presented for showing… but not Mr. Bear. I liked him too much and tended to make sure that he was in the back row or maybe left in the bag so no one could see him.

I didn’t want to let him leave home.

But then a lady by the name of Lisa contacted me. She asked if there were anymore Teddy Bears left… or if I had some for sale. She wanted to adopt a Teddy Bear and present it to a special person by the name of Judith.

I looked around and there was Mr. Bear grinning at me. It was time. He was selected by Lisa and perfect for what she wanted for Judith. So the deal was done – Mr. Bear was to be going to St. Catherines, Ontario. From there he would some how get on an aircraft and make his way to England.

For the next few weeks Mr. Bear tried hard to get to St. Catherines. But it didn’t work out.

Yesterday however it was time and instead of flying from St. Catherines he flew out of Peterborough, Ontario.

The photos below will help you see his departure. I caught him getting into his travel box. Then I watched as he snuggled down ready for his ride on the airplane. Once or twice he did raise his head to look out just before the box was fastened shut. And I am sure that I heard him giggle as he was getting ready to meet Judith.

And from what I heard from Lisa, Judith is a very special lady that will love Mr. Bear more than I could have. Next week he may be attending a number of Tea Parties all over Burnham, Bucks in England.

But what a perfect setting and place for Mr. Bear.

Now I know, I know… some of my friends think I have gone off the deep end. My mind has snapped for sure. I talk about my Teddy bears as if they are alive… and that I love them way too much.

Well that is the Gepetto in me. They are all my creations – my kids. And I love each one.

Hopefully a whole bunch more of Mr. Bear’s cousins will soon be ready. Requests are coming faster now each day.

Gotta run now… need to finish more Teddy Bears this week. There is a need for 24 by the end of August. Oh Boy!

~ Murray Lincoln ~ 


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