The shifting of the excelsior stuffing inside the body of the bear left a void at the back that caused the head of the bear to lean forward and to the side. The seam on the back of the body was opened and the original hump reformed with more batting encased in cotton stockinette. All seams were invisibly closed with hand stitching. The tears in the arms and areas of loss on the face of the bear were stabilized with hand stitching and cotton fabric patches. Nylon net patches were placed over areas on the arms and face that remained vulnerable after repairs. The net wasmasked by gently pulling some of the mohair pile through the net structure. The small loss in one of the button eyes was in-painted with gouache paint.
The client requested a storage solution that would also allow the bear to remain on view. An archival box was purchased from Hollinger Metal Edge. We cut one side out of the box and replaced it with 10 mil Mylar, making a window the bear could be seen through. A custom Ethafoam tray was carved with a depression matching the footprint of the seated bear. This tray was covered with polyester batting and cotton jersey. Cotton twill tape handles were attached to the tray to make the bear easily removable from the box.
This Steiff Teddy Bear barely survived its long life as a beloved toy. After conservation, it is now stable and almost as handsome as the day it was purchased.
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