Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Transforming TW Bear - Part One

Our last post (February 4, 2013) included mention that TW Bear was re-united with his Forever Friend after a somewhat prolonged stay awaiting treatment in the Stuffed Animal Restoration Clinic (Etsy Listing 79124185).  The delay was caused, not by any difficulty involved with his therapy, but merely the fact that we had some difficulty in establishing a fabric source initially, and then we had three other Bear Patients (see the posts regarding the Treatment of the Wagstaff Bears) who all needed to be back with their Forever Friends in time for Christmas.  In addition, there were no time constraints or demands in the case of TW's transformation, nor that of his good friend Edward Bear, who had arrived in the Clinic a few days earlier than TW himself.

Thus, once Edward's New Nose Job was successfully accomplished (see post on 31/01/2013), TW's transformation started.  With the result looking like this

the first stage of treatment, as ever, began with an attack with the "Quik Unpic" - in close proximity to a large garbage bin.  The combination of wood chippings and kapok stuffing that many Bears of TW's vintage (some where between 80-100 years old.) results in a lot of waste needing to be carefully collected.  TW's Forever Friend, Mrs. AW admits to being over 80, but she's not sure if he was a hand-me-down, or arrived new, but he's been with her since she can first remember.   Even so, there always seems to be stuff to be vacuumed up as well, no matter how careful one is in the deconstruction process.

The deconstruction, and much of my restoration work, is undertaken on my trusty ironing board - hence the need for some covering to collect the detritus created as one works through.  The ironing board is also the surface on which many of the photographs get taken!

The stuffing on the right was extracted from the top half of  TW's body and his head (Far R.).  The latter being totally wood chippings, and the body mostly Kapok, with a bit of wood chipping around the neck area - presumably to provide a bit of stiffening.  (The more I get involved with toy restoration, the less I understand the mindset of those involved in yesteryear!  Also, the more I dislike the thought of wood chipping - so dangerously inflammable!)

TW's total internal contents!
Once all the stuffing and joints had been removed, there was still some stubborn Kapok needing removal before TW could be immersed in a bath to remove the accumulation of dust from several decades.

Given the length of time that the dust/dirt had collected,  the left-overs in the bath shown in the lowest picture really shows how well TW had been cared for over the years.  Apparently, as he got progressively hairless, MrsAW's Nanny had become correspondingly embarassed by his appearance.  So she provided him with a knitted vest and knickers to keep him covered.  These, alas, now no longer fit - but MrsAW requested they be returned with TW, for totally sentimental reasons.

Once the total immersion had been completed - TW stayed underwater all night just to make sure he was completely clean - the usual drying procedure was commenced.  So, I'll close this post with TW's vital pieces being hung out to dry (with  great care you understand:  not in the normal sense of these words!)

The piece in the middle of the front row is the gusset - the central piece of the head.  It, and the two pieces on either side, (TW's face) were the most damaged and frayed.  My questionable artistic talents were thus needed when it came to the next stage of the transformation!

Until the next time.....Isobel