Teddy Bear Skin Rugs by Agustina Woodgate

Argentine-born artist Agustina Woodgate used the "skin" of teddy bears to create an actual bear skin rug for her Skin Rugs series.

"The idea started with my relationship to my own teddy bear, Pepe, which I brought with me when I moved to Miami. One day I was sitting with my teddy bear — as a 30-year-old grown woman — observing this thing, which was so worn that it didn’t have eyes, and I recognized that the teddy bear wasn’t real. It was simply an object. But I also didn’t want to throw it away. That’s when I decided wanted to do something with the bear."


"In the beginning of the process, I had no idea what was going to happen. I went to a thrift store, got another bear, and started playing around. I looked at all the components that make up a stuffed animal: the stuffing, the fabric, the stitching. I wanted to approach an everyday object in the hopes of making something new."

"I’ve also always enjoyed the symmetry of oriental rugs, and I had just discovered that they tell stories about people lives. In that matter, they’re like a book. You read them. This notion inspired me to take on the design in a more personal way."


"The rugs not only reference the personal histories of the toy's owners, but investigate the rug as an object organizing and displaying memories and lineages."

"I worked on various rugs at one time. I would be in the process of sewing two, and I’d pause and start to design another. When I felt they were near completion, I washed them with laundry detergent, let them dry, then went back and re-sewed any loose threads."

The series took nearly two years to complete and each rug uses around 50 to 70 toys that were either donated to her, found, or purchased from Goodwill.

"Most of the stuffed animals were donations. I asked a few friends, and through word of mouth, after people heard about the project, I started acquiring more and more until bags of stuffed animals started showing up on the doorstep of my studio."

"Hand-sewn and designed rugs made from recycled teddy bears. The process starts with the departure of the loving life Teddy Bears have when they are in the hands of their owners.The rugs not only reference the personal histories of the toy's owners, but investigate the rug as an object organizing and displaying memories and lineages."

"I didn’t sketch the design at the beginning of the process, that’s a more experimental time. But sometimes, at the end of the construction, I would sketch just to make sure everything was coming together symmetrically."

"First, I would cut off the heads. I always killed them by the necks. I saved the tags because, I thought, why not, right? I saved the eyes too, and I have a jars and jars of little stuffed animal eyes. Maybe I’ll use them in a future project."


"After I cut off the head, I pulled out the stuffing, which is like looking into the soul of the animal. Then, I threw the stuffing away. I decided not to keep the stuffing because I have no idea what I’d do with it. Plus, it took up so much space."


"I took the skin off with a stich-picker because it’s precise and delicately de-threads the stitching. I tried not to cut the fabric. The idea was to keep the fur as a whole as possible. I organized the pieces by shape and color, and stored everything in large bins. But once I was in the middle of working on a specific rug, organization fell apart. I needed to see each fur shape, so I laid them out on the ground."

Even more impressive is the fact that Woodgate had never sewn before this project!

"Because I had no formal background in sewing, I had to teach myself. Learning how to sew was challenging, but modern machines are incredible and after sewing up to 10 hours a day over the past 2 years, I like to think of myself as a professional!"

Check the interview about her project.

"De-stiching the stuffed animals was messy and frustrating. I complained at the beginning, but then I calmed down. Sewing was frustrating, too, but it was also the exciting stage, because that’s when things start to come together, when the design became visible and things tightened up."

Check her website: http://agustinawoodgate.com/

Source: Sight Unseen


Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Design in CSS by TemplateWorld and sponsored by SmashingMagazine
Blogger Template created by Deluxe Templates