This is my teddy bear Neville. He is named after the poor boy in Edward Gorey's book The Gashlycrumb Tinies
who died of ennui.
As I was making him (back in '98), I thought about how he would spend most days at home sitting on my bed. Bored probably. Filled with ennui. Ah-ah! Neville was the perfect name. I sewed him on the machine. It wasn't easy since his fur is so thick. His eyes and nose are mother of pearl buttons I bought especially for him. The eyes are so shiny and reflective that they flash if just a glimmer of light moves across his face at night. My husband says he's menacing.
The most ACK! part of the sewing was after I sewed the head on. The body and head were inside out. When I un-inside-outted them I saw that his head was crooked. I was freaked, but there were a billion layers of thick fur to sew through and I didn't think I could do it any better if I tried again. Now I think his cocked head is totally adorable. When I look at him, he seems to look back at me tenderly thinking evil thoughts like the cute little wicked girls
in Yoshitomo Nara's
Neville lives in the corner of the bed on my side. Mostly he watches over me as I sleep, but sometimes I smother him in a nighttime cuddle.My other handmade bears
My first handmade teddy bear arrived in the mail from my sister when I was 19. I remember opening the package in my tiny studio apartment and wondering why the hell she sent me a teddy bear. She hadn't told me she was sending it. He was made out of blue cotton fabric with tiny flowers on it. When I called her, she told me she made the bear and thought she'd send it to me. It was surreal. I was *so* not a girly teddy bear girl kind of girl. I named him Warren. I like naming things.
I sleep on my stomach. Warren started ending up tucked into my armpit/neckpit. Soon, I couldn't sleep without him. I took him on trips, to hotels, to sleep over at my boyfriend's apartment. It was weird even to me.
A year or so later, I was staying at my parents house for the summer. My little brothers were about 6 and 7. That summer Warren disappeared. I never found out what happened to Warren. I suspect that Warren became the victim of two little boys. The same two little boys who played "car wash" with my car by thrashing it with branches that had fallen off the tree in the front yard. The same two little boys who tied beach towels around their necks and walked around the house in their underwear trying to open the second story windows because they were going to jump out and fly like Superman.
Poor Warren. I loved you.
I tried to be a big girl and live without my teddy bear. But I eventually gave in and decided to make myself a new one. I had a flannel shirt that I made one weekend at Grandma's house when I was a pre-teen. It was the coolest thing. Grandma took me and my two little sisters to the fabric store so we could pick out the fabric for our shirt. Then over the weekend we helped her sew our shirt. They were button up, long sleeved, flannel shirts. The shirt hadn't fit me for years and I thought it would be the perfect fabric for a teddy bear.
Wiley was made out of blue flannel with flowers on it. Very similar to Warren's fabric. I sewed him on the machine from a pattern. I slept with him for about 6 years. I had to fix his neck several times and eventually he became threadbare from all the washings (I slept with him in my armpit ... ). It was a sad day when I threw away sweet Wiley.
That's when the search for my next bear started, and I ended up with Neville.