Friday, March 22, 2013

Featured in Poppen & Teddy-Beer

I'm happy to share with you a feature article of my bears in the current issue of Poppen & Teddy-Beer from Holland. Since the magazine is written in Dutch, I've included the original interview in English if you're interested in what I'd like to share with the readers about me and my creations : )

Poppen & Teddy-Beer Nr. 99 p.16

Poppen & Teddy-Beer Nr. 99 p.17

Hi, I’m Rita Yuk Ying Ng from Hong Kong. There are only a few Chinese bear artists in the teddy bear and soft sculpture scene, and I’m one of the minorities. My business name "YuYu Bear" comes from my initials. The pronunciation of "Yu" is similar to that of fish in Chinese, that's why I designed my logo in fish shape with a teddy bear and a heart inside to illustrate my love of artist bears.

I began my journey of bear making a few years ago as I came across a craft shop displaying artist bears which caught my attention. I searched the internet to learn more about these collectibles. I found the world of artist teddy bears really amazing and started taking courses at a local bear shop. My thirst for improvement then attracted me to Taiwan to take an intensive course in June 2009. With guidance from Elaine and Maggie of Dear Bear, I not only learnt the skills but also found the joy in making artist bears.

I started designing my own pattern and made a fairy bear from it at the end of 2009. My first bear “Fairy_love green”, with open-mouth and crystal dip leaves as wings, won the 1st place in miniature category of 2009 Taiwan Teddy Bear Creative Awards! I dreamed of becoming a bear artist since then and posted photos of my creations on Facebook. After a few months, my angel bear which was dedicated to the memory of my beloved mother caught a collector’s attention, and I got my first commissioned order from overseas.

Then, I kept working on different materials and adjusting my designs. Such experimental form of learning not only enhanced my bear making skills, but also helped to achieve the sweet round faces with puffy cheeks as the trademark of YuYu Bear. Besides needle and scissor sculpting, I also apply needle felting skills to give my bears round noses of wool. Some of my new creations also have felted eyelids which help to create an innocent look and make them more appealing!

In addition to needle felting, I love to incorporate other skills like crochet and embroidery into my contemporary bear style. As I enjoy crocheting, sometimes I crochet hats, capes, shoes or other adornments to dress my bears. I also like embroidery, besides using such skill to embroider nose, it can be used to embroider flower, name or date on foot pads, especially in making wedding bears. And all my creations have "Y" embroidered on foot pads symbolizing "YuYu Bear".

My interest in making artist bears grows as bears are born from imagination to lovable designs. I enjoy creating individuality for each bear and keep experimenting to bring my ideas alive. So my previous creations are quite different from what I’m making. Now, I create artist bears and friends of variety from small to medium sizes and miniatures, I also make big bears if commissioned though. The largest bear that I've ever made is about 40cm named Rupert, who is photographed with a mini bear in red and white sitting on his arm.

Besides bears, you can also find bunny, elephant, bee and panda in my creations. I like designing and making animal friends, pandas especially. They are fun to create as different color combination can be used other than black and white. However, I’m very attached to the black and white panda, DaDa, who is sitting in a normal size bamboo steamer as shown in my profile picture. He won the 1st place in British Bear Artist Awards 2011 (international artists category)!

As more and more people are interested in Chinese culture, collectors welcome the idea of “dim sum” bears, especially panda in bamboo steamer. Dim sum is unique culinary art of Chinese food prepared as bite-sized or individual portions traditionally served in bamboo steamers. I usually create bears from 3 to 4 inches to fit in mini bamboo steamers.

To better promote my creations to bear collectors from around the world, I participated in an online bear show last year for the first time. It was great experience and hope that I’ll participate in a real bear show someday, meet collectors in person and also other bear artists, it must be fun!


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