Just what hides below the fuzzy skin of our beloved teddy bears? Is it just as soft and cuddly as their outsides, something more sinister or maybe something more realistic? Felt sculptor Stephanie Metz has gone a long way towards showing us the answer with her Teddy Bear Natural History, creating fuzzy and entertainingly lifelike examples of the toys innards. I’ve never been there, but is this how all Build-a-Bears start out?
Metz’ work is part commentary on how humans manipulate the natural world to our own ends, creating cute and docile things, which in reality are often rather fierce… like bears for example. Similarly she asks us to think about the ways which we are now using bioengineering to create real-life creatures more to our liking, comparing the idea that we humans like to care for things with round features and big eyes with the fact that these bears have sharp teeth meant for purposes beyond cuddling.
Using cues from actual anatomy (like those teeth and the joints found in actual skulls) Metz creates her pieces by finding teddy bears and reverse engineering their designs. It’s pretty sweet to think these are all based on bears we could have owned. Her use of needle-felted wool is the perfect balance of fuzziness and rigid structure you’d expect inside the body of a teddy bear. See more of her creations at stephaniemetz.com.