Bolton University: 3D Form & Space

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Jesus Ted:  plastic sheeting, acrylic paint, Kinspan, velco  3m x 3m x 2.7m

An investigating the significance of the Teddy Bear in the Western culture. We may think of a teddies as just cute, comforting, furry toys, but is this all they are?  They say ‘I love you’, ‘I’m sorry’, they sell everything from children’s charity events to John West salmon and toilet rolls. Topically, during the course of the module a British teacher in Sudan named a teddy bear ‘Mohammed’, with consequent furore. Sudan, of course, does not have a culture of soft toys.  For me it was interesting to step outside the frame of the British ‘taken-for-granted’ attitudes, and see teddy bears as the potent cultural sign that they are.  Bears are huge.  

Jesus Ted was designed for a specific space in the university studio, using Planit Fusion CAD.  There were a few failed attempts at making a hanging frame that was rigid/light enough, and within budget, before deciding on Kinspan.  I devised a method to cut the sheeting into strips at an acceptable rate of 23/50 mins.  The individual strips were then painted – tests showed that acrylic paint had the best properties – and attached on site with velcro.  

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Rosie Bear Stall: multimedia

Display is important in the life of the teddy, for instance informal display on a bed, a formal display of collectable bears, retail displays in supermarkets, toy shops.  Bears not only sell other products and ideas, they are also a significant commodity in their own right.

Rosie was modelled in clay, from which a Vinamold mould was made.  Three teds were cast in plaster .  The mould was used to cast one from gift wrapping and paper advertising material.  The last was vacuum formed.

One of the plaster bears had images of me as a 2 year old with my lovely blue teddy, a gift from my Uncle Alan. A reminder that teddy bears are also the warm, comforting, furry friends we think they are.  Maybe even ‘surrogate father, rebel leader, fighter pilot and undefeated racing driver’ as Grayson Perry claims for his teddy.

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