Friday, December 30, 2011

Fiber Arts Friday: Bear Hair

Yes, that's right.  Bear Hair.  Black Bear Hair found by my cousin's son in their back yard last September.


Yes, that's right.  Black Bears in the back yard.  They live in Colorado too.  :-)

If you remember the Rocky Mountain Goat I posted about a few weeks ago,  this is my same cousin with the same son.  It might mean that my cousin and her son have become my very own personal rare fiber dealers.  ;-)

This is only 1/4 ounce.  There is absolutely no crimp, but the shine is gorgeous and the color is just beautiful.

I attempted to spin it straight on my wheel, but the hair is stiff so it didn't go too well.  So I'm not sure how I will get this spun or even if spinning is the right thing to do.  I suspect blending it with something will be the way to go, but I haven't done any blending yet, so suggestions are absolutely welcome.

If you had access to Black Bear Hair, what would you do with it?

While you're thinking about that, please check in with all of the lovely Fiberistas over at Fiber Arts Friday and have a great New Year's Eve!

17 comments:

WonderWhyGal said...

hmmm, would the hair be worth spinning. Too me it seems like the primary fibers we are always wanting to get out of our fiber before spinning. I've never heard of bear yarn either...you may want to research to see if anyone has ever done that.

You'd be the one to experiment though...let us know how it goes.

Happy New Year!

Melissa Plank said...

Can I just say that I am so jealous! What a cool fiber to work with, I guess I've never thought of bears shedding their coat. It reminds me of those long delicate pine needles that are sometimes used to make coil baskets. If it turns out to be unspinable, maybe you could make a small basket? (google pine needle coiled basket images, so cool looking!)

Oak Haven Alpacas said...

I would mix it with some other coarse fibers (like a really coarse alpaca - I'm thinking of on old gelding we had, something like that with the right color combo you want) and then spin it into yarn. It would have to be made into something that would be worn far away from the skin (since it wouldn't be soft and luxurious). One benefit to coarse fibers is that they wear really well, something like a rug would work great. Then if the bear fibers sort of peek out of the yarn (don't spin smooth) it wouldn't matter. It would give the rug texture.

Cara

Kathryn Ray said...

Oooo, both the basket and rug are great ideas. Thanks!

Heather Woollove said...

Kathryn--At Felter's Fling this year, people used horse hair to decorate felted vessels. I wonder whether bear hair would be as nice?!? If you try it, just remember that it probably won't felt on its own and you'll have to 'anchor' it with a thin veiling of wool roving to hold it in the felt. Happy New Year!!

Kathryn Ray said...

Heather - it's been a while since I've had my hands on any horse hair... I don't think the bear hair is as coarse, but it certainly has a similar character. Felting embelishments is a good idea too. Thanks!

softearthart said...

Well now that is something different, we do not have bears in New Zealand, I am smiling, cheers Marie

Spinster Beth said...

Oh that looks like my hair ... I must have been shedding ...sorry!

Kathryn Ray said...

@Marie - how funny, it never even occured to me that there weren't bears in place like New Zealand.

@Beth - you crack me up. :-D

Vivian said...

I'd do along the same line as Heather, use the hair as decoration. A branch of Chinese embroidery uses human hair instead of threads, like described on this site: http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en_artqa/2004-03/31/content_46519.htm
You'll need a very solid fabric to anchor the hairs, or they slip out. Maybe a bear portrait with real bear hair as hair? Have fun with it!

trudi@maudeandme said...

Wow - Bear hair, that's amazing. No bears in australia either.

Kathryn Ray said...

@Vivian - that's awesome... definately worth a thought.

@Trudi - you and Marie have me doing a little bear research. :-)

AllyB said...

That bear hair looks like it would make a beautiful bird nest. Which, in turn, would make a lovely Christmas decoration with the addition of some felted "eggs" and some twigs. Good luck whatever you decide to do with it.

Alittlebitsheepish said...

Love te interesting fibres you "dealers" find for you. Looking forward to seeing what you make from it

Dutch Hollow Acres said...

Hmm.. I would think bear hair would work up much like human hair. I too think mixing with course fiber is the way to go. If you have hand cards or even a dog brush. Work in a little of each fiber and brush them together before spinning.

Good luck, can't wait to see how it works up!

The Knitty Gritty Homestead said...

This is hilarious! I once bought a small ball of dog hair spun into the worst, itchiest, sheddiest yarn ever. Good luck! I used to live in the artic in a village where "umimaq" (muskoxen) were plentiful. I wish I'd had the presence of mind to scour the tundra for fibre!!

Tamara Miller said...

Bear Hair?? How exciting! I also agree with spinning it with coarser fiber. And Melissa's idea is good too. Definitely research it. I am sure Native Indians used bear hair in some form or another. Keep us posted on your plans!