Monday, August 3, 2009

Teddy Bear Restoration

I'm a sucker for "love-worn" teddy bears...they just look like they've given their all, and now they deserve some care in return. How anyone can throw out a battered teddy is beyond my understanding!
Still, this one was damaged well past even my high tolerance level. But I bought him anyway, because he's a very rare and special teddy: an American 1920s Sleep Eyed Bear.

When I found him, I had never seen a Sleep Eyed Bear (SEB) for sale in over 20 years of collecting, and I thought, "well, I can probably fix him. How hard can it be?" As it turned out, quite hard, and eventually SEB was sent away to a professional teddy bear restorer.
(Mar-Ke Mohair at highly recommended!)
A month later, SEB could hear out of both ears, smell, and smile, and he also felt much cleaner and sturdier. It was a truly amazing restoration.

Sleep Eyed Bears, when found, are usually damaged, because of the fragility of their internal mechanism. The head contains a metal framework that holds the celluloid eyes in place. When you tip the bear back, the eyes roll into a closed position. It's pretty ingenious, but also hard on the bear: the fabric tends to strain against the metal, resulting in tears over time, and if the fabric gets wet, the metal causes terrible staining that looks like...well, like poor Teddy has been a homicide victim. Thankfully, this one was saved and is now living a comfortable retirement, beguiling the other bears with stories of his trip to the restorer.

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