The bears may be idle but this Teddy Bear artist certainly isn't.

Eunice Beaton recently retired and now has the time to tackle all the Teddy Bear projects that have been piling up and thought it would be a good idea to share these adventures.

One of these projects is creating limited edition silk bears out of a one of a kind silk fabric. A small run of the fabric was developed by Eunice in collaboration with the fabric department of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) using the silk thread from the Mopani worm.

Mopani silk fabric

A number of years ago Eunice was looking for new fabrics with which to make Teddy Bears for a shop she co-owned with her daughter Dianne. During her search she discovered a research institute that was able to produce limited runs of fabric out of local materials. One of these materials was the Mopani silk thread.

The Mopani silk fabric is woven from the silk of the Mopani worm that is found in countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Namibia and Malawi.

The fabric is made from very fine threads and requires carefull handling. It can be brushed into a smooth or ruffled look.

Bringing the silk bear to life

Eunice has been putting a lot of thought into the type of bears to make with the Mopani silk fabric and has created a prototype to help with the design process.

This is a work in progress and has been put aside for now to make way for other Teddy Bear projects.

On the right is a picture of an unfinished prototype with the smooth look sitting on some Mopani silk fabric that has been given a ruffled look in order to contrast the two appearances that can be given to this fabric.

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