Still need to fix the nose and do some touch-ups in the detailing, but I'm happy that this thing all came together considering what I had to work with! The hide seemed okay at first, but as I began test fitting it on the form, I noticed that several holes and tears were appearing out of nowhere. Part of the lip started to shred like wet newsprint. I realized then that it had acid rot, and I am not afraid to admit that I actually cried when I thought that it would be impossible to save it, especially since this is hands-down the most gorgeous bear I've ever had my hands on.
So I worked fast and used a lot of pins. The result is what you see above.
For those wondering, this bear was shot by a police officer in Colorado. I don’t know the exact story, but I assume he was too close to civilization and was thus deemed a threat. Colorado doesn't mess around with their problem bears, unlike Oregon (where bears were only a bit less common than deer on my old college campus).
It really is a beautiful specimen - probably the most gorgeous I’ve ever worked with. He’s a black bear, but is actually dark brown in color, and each of his hairs is tipped in gold. He’s also got a golden stripe down his spine and a white blaze on his chest.
The man who commissioned the headdress wanted it to have ‘blind’ eyes, so I used specially-made opalite glass, which has been backed in foil. They are now reflective in low light, and change color from milky blue to pale orange.
Don't like taxidermy? Don't look.