Polar bear skin
I was fortunate to be asked to conserve this polar bear skin rug which was looking very sorry for itself. It had been on the bathroom of a private house for many years and then the house opened to the public, and unfortunately the skin became badly damaged. The head was trodden on and the eyes had become loose, the ears were broken and the nose was completely split, showing historic repairs. There had also been expanding foam dripped on it from a previous repair of the eyes. It was very dirty and stained, but regardless I had become hugely enamoured with the task and wanted to reintroduce some of its former beauty and nobility once more.
The fur required cleaning with a number of different solvents as it was very dirty but there were also yellow stains throughout the fur which turned out to be expanding foam residue. The fur had also got wet and this caused the old tanning chemicals to leach through to the fur. It left the fur dyed yellow, which needed rectifying as polar bear hair is in fact colourless. The eye area was made much larger from the former repair so to ensure the eye remained stable and in the right position, clay was used to help build up the lost area and form the correct support. The images show some of the damage and the finished specimen. It also shows how I chose to store this specimen. This needed to be fully covered and has had tissue wadding throughout to help support the creases, by being in a sturdy lightweight, very large box, it is fully protected from dirt, light and the pressure of other objects resting on or against it