Joanne had specially arranged for us to have a lunch appointment with Kelly Dean! He is currently one of the best realistic bear artist in USA!
|L-R: Kelly, Wayne, Joanne and Philip|
Kelly is a humble man and we enjoy chatting with him over lunch. We love his stories about the past incidents when he attended various bear shows. Sadly many of the bear artists have retired and we have not heard most of them. Kelly has spent more than 20 years making bears. He enjoys making realistic bears with armatures as these give them movement and ability to pose at various angles. He also shared with us that needle sculpting is not his strength. So to overcome his weakness, he uses multiple pieces of fabric to form the profile to his desired shape. What impresses us is his bear faces typically consist of more than 40 pieces of fabric pattern!
After lunch, we went his studio to take a peek! We were all thrilled like children dashing to meet new friends in a zoo! His works are incredible and huge! We have never expected them to be so huge and heavy! We were so pleased to be the first to hold and hug his latest creations and most of them will be going to the Woburn Abbey Teddy Bear Festival with him at UK in June. It is our first time seeing Joanne's face lighted up! She is so happy and excited to see Kelly's bears too. We were all so glad to make the trip to meet Kelly.
Kelly told Wayne that his bears are never prefect, he is still working on the designs and strive for perfection. His words have deeply inspired all of us!
We even saw a pulley mounted on his ceiling which is probably used when he worked with his bears. The intricate paws, foot pads, claws and nose of his bears were all made from leather. Philip took a 360 view of his studio and share it on Facebook and he is shocked that it has more than 200 likes!
Thank you Joanne for driving us to meet Kelly. Thank you Kelly for inviting us to his studio. Wayne believes that Kelly's inspiring words to him as a great artist would definitely motivate him to become one someday.
In the evening, we took 3 hours ride back to Joanne's home and look forward to the bear making sessions the following day.
Wayne & Philip