Mohair is made from the fleece of the Angora goat, prized for its soft yet strong, brilliant
luster and its receptiveness to rich dyes. The word mohair originates from the
Arab word mukhayyar meaning "cloth of bright goat hair". The word gradually
became altered to the Old English mohair. The Angora goat, named after the city
Angora (now Ankara) Turkey, is perhaps the oldest recorded animal known, dating to the 15th
century BC. Prior to 1800s the goats were exclusive to the Middle East. Today
small herds are present in South Africa, Texas, Australia, Argentina, Germany, and England.
In 1860 a goat purchased in the United States cost its weight in silver.
Mohair for Teddy Bears
The Angora goat has a life expectancy of only 8 years. The fibers used to make the
mohair for teddy bears is the finest baby hairs taken only twice from a kid at 4 and 10
months. After this the mohair becomes too thick for teddy bears. The fleece is
sent to England, France, and Ireland to be spun. Only three mills in the world -- one
in England and two in Germany -- weave the mohair onto thick cotton backing. The
mohair is hand tied to the loom and woven so that it becomes sandwiched between two layers
of cotton backing. It is then cut apart to give the desired length of fur. The
density of the mohair is determined by numbers of fibers woven per inch. Today there
are about 700 different types of mohair. It varies from 1/8" to over 1" in length.
Suppliers offer a wide range of colours.
Although an expensive material, mohair has great appeal to the Teddy Bear artist.
Mohair gives the artist a medium that holds its shape, allows for soft and needle sculpting
fine details, yet is strong and durable in teddy bears of all sizes. Mohair is
receptive to an array of rich dyes, allowing artists to use their own dyes to create rich
colour. The luxurious coat also gives the bear a vintage look and feel. The
quality of the mohair fabric will ensure the teddy bear a long healthy life. This is
the bear created today that will be tomorrow's heirloom bear.