rising star

Nadine Murat Thevenot, Mabawa Teddies


 

 

Teddy Land's

Faerie

Princess

Breathing Life

into Spectacularly

Unusual Creatures

By Liania Monfreye
Wuthering Heights

A scene of bears, based on the famous novel of the same name, created for the invitational judging at the prestigious TBAI to help promote the beauty of bears made of thread.

Mabawa Teddies
Nadine Murat Thevenot

 

Once upon

a time...

 

There was a little French girl named Nadine, who wished,

like Peter Pan, that she would never have to grow up but could instead, spend forever creating beautiful drawings

of all the images and poetry, she had in her mind.

Papa's Patisserie!

Of course, part of her day

was consumed with her other favorite activity: watching her Papa in his patisserie laboratory

as he transformed basic products into lusciously tasty cakes and sweet treats. 

As she observed him, her mind

would race with questions:

- How did he know what

ingredients to choose?

- What were the steps he

took to alter these ingredients

so dramatically? 

- Where did he learn how to do

all this?

But, the biggest question of all, was whether or not her Papa had magical powers, because surely no ordinary person could

prepare such mouthwatering

delicacies, almost from thin air.

Changes

Time passed and the little girl did get older but never really left behind, her childhood innocence and love of all things beautiful, or, that never-ending streak of inquisitiveness constantly driving her to want to know HOW things are done!

Her passion for drawing led

her to a career as an illustrator

and a fabric designer, both

of which she clearly enjoyed!

She also loved to write and

possessed a natural flair

for words, which she spun

into wonderous poetry,

whenever she could. 

The Fates Decree

It was only by chance and

powers unseen, that she

chanced upon the obscure world of teddy bears!

"I found the Teddy Bear World

by accident, but I rather prefer

to say it's luck," explains Nadine.

"I always loved bears and had

many when I was a child.  All

were teddies, never the kind

of antique or Steiff-style bears,

but common teddies for children."

"My favorite one was " Spatty

Junior", a really well loved guy,"

continues Nadine.

"Out of the blue, I decided

to redo Spatty Junior, perhaps

as a link back to my childhood,

and this is the way I began

making teddies bears."

Nadine further elaborates,

"Then, one day, while I was

surfing eBay, I discovered the nearly hidden world of bears

made by artists... outstanding!"

"I could not believe that such

a thing could exist, so many

wonderful bears and critters,

just a dreamland for me, who

never wanted to grow up."

Summing up, Nadine says,

"I was in love at the first sight...and now, I am in the trap forever."

Soon afterwards, Nadine

began learning about teddies, bear artists and related things of this new and mysterious land..."now I am honored

to be part of this, myself." 

"In particular," she says,

"I met the bears of thread

by Berta Hensen-Minten,

which I thought were the sweetest and most incredible things, I had ever seen."

Interwoven Threads

Nadine believes it was more

than luck which drove her

" paws" to bear land, but

something more like fate!

"I became a fabric designer

and learned art things but

my real love was always -

motifs, fibers, fabrics, fashion

and materials," enthuses

Nadine. 

For Nadine, bears of thread

were clearly a way to blend

all the things she loved into

one path, an exciting avenue

to express her interest and

knowledge about fibers and

textiles overall.

"I am a self-taught crochet

girl," clarifies Nadine, "I never

used patterns of any kind

for my crocheted bears. 

Rather, I learned how they

are generally made..."

Nadine reveals that when

she begins to crochet each

bear, "I try to let my fingers

push the crochet again and

again, through loops and

yarns with basic stitches,

just like if it was clay, rising

like a sculpture." 

Granting Colorful Wishes!

Color is an integral part

of Nadine's life - she lives

and breathes every hue

and shade as if she, herself,

were a brilliant rainbow!

"I love colors, I love textures.

I wander amongst my huge

collection of threads and

fibers and I create a bear,"

affirms Nadine. 

"Even when the bear is a

classic one made of Schulte

mohair, I can't help paint him

with some colors and give him

an extravagant mood... I have

to hold myself back to not do

more... but colors appeal me

and they cry to me to use

them all!"

No Boxed-In Corners!

Nadine does not like to be

tied to any one definition

of what style her bears are,

but instead, describes them

as "whimsy ones, wild and

crazy... somewhat like

"Couture", full of audacity

from the fashion  field!"

Like Berta Hesen-Minten, who

is not only a mentor for Nadine but also a dear friend, Nadine's sheer body of artistic work certainly does not fall into

an easily definable "niche".

Each one is more unique and exciting than the next with

new directions always on the horizon. 

When you peruse her website, and view her incredibly diverse collection, it is mind-boggling

to realize that she has been making bears for less than three years!

Nadine further defines the style question as it relates to her, "When I first began bear making, I had a very poor bear culture, just visual impressions of the bears I saw online."

"I was like a virgin, everything

was possible for me, I had no

frame of reference, just the

will to do and create something

close to bears and to express

myself," Nadine maintains.

"Which is how my whimsy

crocheted bears are born,

and, this is how my style appeared -- immediately different from others because

of the wild palette of colors

and even more especially --

the mixing of fibers, fluffy

and untamed."

"Often, it is as if my bears

are wearing their own skin

of clothes," describes Nadine.

"I believe that nothing is

impossible to crochet with,

all fibers are great and interesting.  I have tried

a lot, but rarely one, single

fiber because it's too boring

for me.  Always, I have the

fibers mixed, like I would

do with a fashion sweater. 

My style is wild, colorful,

often happy and insolent."

Let Go!

Through her bears, Nadine

urges us to view things from new perspectives. 

People often ask Nadine where

she develops such a huge array

of ideas, to which she replies,

"My real first inspiration is my

life, in which, everything can

inspire me."  

"My memory is a very good

source, my trips, my meeting,

everything around me...

sometimes just a song."

"Let me see a bear or give me

the feeling of a bear... I think

about creating my bears even

as I am cooking... I pick up

various things, I smell, I touch,

I imagine how it will be all

together ... and I try it!"

"Just do it," is advice Nadine

also gives to others as she,

herself, does not fear going

in new directions.

"I love experimentations...

It goes back to when I was

a child and was always

imagining how things were

done and what were the

processes involved," recalls

Nadine.  

"I constantly have new designs

in my mind, new ideas, new will, the problem is always the same one... not enough time for them all."

Eclectic Preferences

Nadine wishes she had more

time for other bear-related

pursuits, "I love to watch

creations of other bear

artists, it's always a delight

to discover a new poetry and

personality.  I regret missing

so much time and not being

connected to the bear world

as much as I would like."

As far as styles go, Nadine is

very clear on what she likes,

" I love all styles of bears,

traditional as well as really

audacious and whimsical

ones.  There is no limit with

shape evolution, except the

character bear which must

be recognizable."  

"When bear making is well

advanced, the designs are

the greatest...more audacious

and sculptural."

"Sometimes creations are

a little bit far from bears

and closer than critters.

I am not disturbed with

that, quite the opposite,"

says Nadine, "Research and trials, drive bear making into the field of design rather than only the field of craft, and so

it is a dynamic movement."

Personal Diversity

Nadine's bears are scaled

from micro to big (1" to 22"

tall), and according to her,

"The proportion of shapes follows my mood.  I have no rules, just my own conception

of harmony and aesthetics."

Nadine splits her creations

into separate "series".  The

bulk of them are created

from fibers, like sewing threads, yarn, angora, mohair, acrylic, cotton, nylon, and fall into her Ook's Series.

Another section is inspired

by old bruins, they are from Schulte mohair and sometimes upholstery velvet or synthetic fur.  These are Camille, Woter, Mini and Storyteller Series.

A third, the Spatty Series, are

teddies with unjointed limbs,

inspired by Nadine's childhood

bear.

Another series, important

in terms of impact, is her

Lutin Series - needle felted bears, which Nadine considers is closer to modeling because

of the technique, itself.

Mediums of Choice

To Nadine, "variety is the spice

of life!" Nowhere is that more

evident than in the various material choices she uses, especially in her crocheted teddies.

"I very much like mohair, silk

and the best angora because

it's really soft and cuddly with which to work," emphasizes Nadine, " I adore traditional mohair fabric, because I have

a special feeling for the

weaved background of this

kind of fabric."

"I like all vintage things and traditional mohair has this kind

of look.  My personal opinion

is that mohair becomes older

better than the synthetics; even if the bear loses part

of its hairs, it's still nice and charming; while sometimes, newer faux-fur fabrics are

hard to maintain."

Nadine notices these things

in another occupation of hers,

repairing old bears and teddies, "I rather prefer to clean and to restore good life to an antique mohair bear, than to the common synthetic teddies."

In spite of everything, Nadine reports that she does like

to use modern faux-fur fabric,

"Of which there are wonderful, new selections - the techniques and quality always improve. 

Sometimes they can be better than classical mohair."

Koko

You wanted to go to a party, making yourself up

with merry colors of happiness....
Putting light to your cheeks,

some feathers to your hairs
and brilliant shades around your neck.
Little buddy! From one loving smile

you light up  my cold days of winter,
you bring me tenderness like a wonderful present of true love overflowing hearts.
I don't know how to tell you how much I love you,
but certainly you'll feel it in hugging me.

Mabawa Teddies
Nadine Murat Thevenot
Alexis
Tell me about the infinite hugs will capsize my body and still my heart...
Tell me the loving strokes will give me the taste of honey
and abandon's pleasures shared...
I was able to touch the sky, and get closer of its heady blue,
I want to drown myself in the ether,
to entertain myself of its brightness,
to get drunk on its flavour,
and to share it with you...
Mabawa Teddies
Nadine Murat Thevenot
Efi

I want to be a dream funambulist

of simple moments.
My wings give me balance to walk along the thin wire of time that goes by...
from each hour done to each day making weeks, and weeks to months, and months to years...
I will always be close to you, reminding you

of wonderful small happy moments, sowed all day along...
I have the softness of silk

and all those tender and magical things...
My poetry is a long breath to caress your heart and heal your soul when life is hurting you.
I can bring you light and love because nice things are created to open eyes on the beauty

of simple moments shared with people loved,

to find joy and happiness everywhere it is.

Mabawa Teddies
Nadine Murat Thevenot
Droosea

The ice field was chilly, I slipped on a cube...
I was wearing my festive clothes, seals were singing in unison,
"He took a tumble! Shown his bums, we applaud!
He was going like a peacock, and now the poor beast doesn't stand up on its paws..."
But, I don't care with the scoffing birds,

all are jealous of my colors,
I swapped my white fur for a corner

of a blue laughing sky...

Mabawa Teddies
Nadine Murat Thevenot
Nola 

Nola is wondering how the butterflies are born...
Bears are born from pots and boxes,
full of bits and pieces of yarns.
But the butterflies! Are they too?
A leaf was lost... hmm! Nadine made of it,
some wings of butterfly for Nola.
"You see! it isn't really important, to know about the birth of butterflies,
since you too, you are able to be one

with a little bit of imagination"
If you believe in dreams, it can come true.

Mabawa Teddies
Nadine Murat Thevenot
Gina

I'm a wild bear girl tiny and faerie.

I escaped from a charmed land of secret forests.
Living in leafy trees, I hide very well
behind the skins of leaves.
Do you think you can catch me? You're wrong!
Playing hide-and-seek with you, is so sweet.
You are thinking you will see me, or catch me,

but you can't, I'm already gone,

hidden behind another leaf.  Try again!
I wanted to meet some friendly bears.
Trees whispered in my ear, "beyond the forest,
exists wonderful and funny lands,
where many kind of bears live."
I want to play with them, I'm all alone in my tree...

Mabawa Teddies
Nadine Murat Thevenot
Minelle, a Dreaming Girl
Another whimsy girl is born,

An underground bear of thread...
”When I close my eyes, nothing is beating,
only the slow movement of water, which gives life to my heart.
If to vibrate, is revealing everything secret,

if to shiver, is to have desire sweeping everything,
if to love, is to crave chaining my glance to you,
leave me as your loving jailer
and tie yourself to me, as I tie myself.
...hug hug me please!”

Mabawa Teddies
Nadine Murat Thevenot
Peanut

I was born just before the lovers shut away to tell tender secrets. Perhaps I will know those confidences, myself.
I am like a chick searching for one's nest.
Up to now, all has been a long and vast silence. My life isn't really begun yet. I sulk a little because I want a sweet friendship,
I'm still searching for it.

I hope to be special sunshine in your hug,
created just to celebrate an day for a huge love.

Mabawa Teddies
Nadine Murat Thevenot
Bliss
My joy is offered, just to you, only to you...
My heart was beating so strongly
that it escaped from my chest...
Emotion was my only horizon,
and my opened arms were hoping your warmth.
Are you really the one who's able to feel that?
Now I am feeling so strong, I am feeling so light,
all my overflowing love is waiting for you,
only you!
Mabawa Teddies
Nadine Murat Thevenot
Pastel & Ublo, the Fish

Fond of sugar, she's wearing colors  of delicacy and happiness. She's soft like silk, she's shining and glittering like the sweetened balls of bags of candies.Ublo, her buddy is warm-hearted,
Ready to follow her to the ends of the earth!
Quite simply because friendship is always strong for true souls.

The gentleness of Pastel misses you. 

Mabawa Teddies
Nadine Murat Thevenot
Didier

There was your glance lost in mine,
and your large smile that I shall not forget.
You wake up with joy and give me the memory

of happy days, and laughter for nothing.
I don't want to leave your innocent glance.
I could be quite lost there and could stay

in my memory of you, still alive.

Mabawa Teddies
Nadine Murat Thevenot
Nuts
Yeah, I'm a mad teddy, oops!... did you say bear?
You have to make up your mind...
Am I a teddy or, someone else...hihihihi
Nadine created me listening to some jazz retro...
and here we are, I was born...
Yes! I'm something really mad and am bellowing or laughing...
You have to make up your choice, too!!
However that may be.
Yes...I'm a nice and friendly guy!
Mabawa Teddies
Nadine Murat Thevenot
Kaouet
Look at my sweet face, how romantic I am!
All warm tonalities of this Autumn season
inspired Nadine's mood to create me.
Fallen leaves escaped from trees
were happy to begin their mysterious trip.
What exciting adventures for fragile nature!
She could be lost among those going up in flames! Of course not! Now, she waits for someone
who desires to meet her.
Mabawa Teddies
Nadine Murat Thevenot

Nadine's Story

Continued on Page 2

Click here

Shaba

Shaba has a fiery temperament.
He's a good bear but he's passionate.
Perhaps he is madly in love with life,
or wants to fall in love with you.

He's a real painting, the light is shining and playing on his fur

like the brush of a painter searchingfor the life on the canvas.
He's a tender bear who wishes to bring the light
and his bright color in your hug.
Take my hand to follow me

Mabawa Teddies
Nadine Murat Thevenot
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Editor's Note: Shaba was the first piece of Nadine's work that I ever saw and I fell instantly and madly in love with the magical world of wondorous creatures that she has wrought from string, thread, fibers and fabrics.  The texture and colors blend together into one unending sensation that hits the mind like a huge explosion,  Her photography and command of the presence of the camera lens, is something I wish could be conveyed to every artist!"

Go to

Page Three

Nadine's

Whimsy

Wonders!

Return to

Table of Contents

Go to

Page Two

for more Nadine's

Wonderful

Creations!