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Wolf totem headdress - real black wolf full skin fur totem decorated dance costume headdress mask with free animal myth

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WOLF PARTS CANNOT BE SENT TO CALIFORNIA OR NEW YORK. IF YOU ARE IN THESE STATES PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO ORDER THIS ITEM.

Layaway is available for this item; please contact me for details! My layaway plans are quite generous, and I'm more than willing to work with you to find a payment plan that works for your budget!

Materials: Wolf skin, leather, deerskin, deer tail, deer toe bone, deer antler, acrylic paint, coyote teeth

Description: Here's another one of my storytellers! I started with this pretty black wolf hide; he had had some damage to his face, including a pretty sizable hole which I patched up, and I then reshaped his face and ears (which were rather stiff and cartilage-y). He seemed as though he had a story to tell, and so we sat down together and he told me the story of How Wolf Fed the Scavengers, which you can read for free at http://therioshamanism.com/2012/01/16/how-wolf-fed-the-scavengers . Even though the wolf in that story was female, he wanted to embody that tale, so I set out to give him the proper decorations. I gave him canine teeth to signify Wolf's ferocity and bravery. Then I added a deerskin panel to his back and painted it with imagery from the story, and also added a deer tail, toe bone, and piece of antler, which are also key parts of the myth. He has deerskin straps to tie him on, and while this myth is particularly near and dear to him, he's ready for all sorts of sacred ritual drama.

I can also add details or other decor, for additional cost for materials and labor--customization is my specialty, so feel free to ask :) I guarantee the workmanship on all my masks and other headdresses, and should this ever need reshaping or other repair, I will do it free of charge!

I created my first full skin totem dance costume (which I still have!) in 2002, and have created many in the years since then. Not content with just a chin strap, I developed unique systems of straps to distribute the weight more evenly. This was not taught to me; rather, I have developed my techniques independently through trial and error, as well as years of skindancing myself. As with all my creations, this costume has been purified as a part of my shamanic practice and is ready for ritual work.

Please be aware that the shipping includes insurance and delivery confirmation.

May only be shipped in the U.S.; WOLF PARTS may not be sent to California or New York. Please do not ask me to make an exception for you.***

I began making headdresses not as a trend or fashion statement, but because a decade ago I began dancing my own wolf at pagan festivals in the Northeast (particularly at Brushwood) and other people wanted to be able to do the same. Headdresses, along with the rest of my dead critter art, are an intensely spiritual work for me. I work with animal remains because I want to give them a better "afterlife" than being a trophy or status symbol. While not all my customers are animists, a fair number are, and I specialize in making the best connections for everyone involved.

There are a number of practices that I incorporate into making my headdresses that are specifically born from the spiritual angle of my work, though some of them are practical as well:

--I stitch up all tears and other holes in the hide, even small ones, as part of the spiritual "repair and reclaim" part of the artistic ritual. Even when the leather side looks like swiss cheese, it's entirely worth it.

--I don't do traditional taxidermy beyond shaping the heads of the headdresses. Part of this is because I want to use as few artificial materials as possible. Some of it is environmental; styrofoam (which taxidermy forms are most often made of these days) is bad stuff, petro-chemical based, and additionally the fewer new or nonbiodegradable resources I use, the better. Some of it is also spiritual; my headdresses are designed to maximize physical contact between the wearer and the hide, which facilitates the connection between the skin spirit and the dancer. It does mean that there isn't the constant support of a taxidermy form in the head. This is why I offer to periodically reshape heads and ears for free, if it's necessary. It's like having a hat reblocked.

--There are other things I do to maximize the wearability of my headdresses, especially long-term and with a lot of movement. Another reason I don't put taxidermy forms, real skulls, or other such things in the heads is because of weight. I want the headdress to be as light as possible to ease strain on the shoulder and especially the neck. I add a series of straps to distribute the weight of the hide, especially full hide headdresses of larger animals. And the straps also serve to create as much physical connection between the headdress and the wearer as possible. The wolf skin I first danced in, as well as my current one, both have straps at the head and the shoulders to carry weight, as well as all along the forelegs/my arms and the hind legs/my legs to cover me as much as possible. I've started using the bandolero style of tying the forelegs over the chest with bigger hides for even better weight distribution, though I still do the older style on large hides if preferred.

--I deliberately make the stops (foreheads) of wolf and other larger headdresses more pronounced than they would be on an actual wolf. This is because the human skull is a lot more high-domed than a wolf skull, and pronouncing the stop more helps the hide conform to the wearer's head more closely, especially if the head is mask-style.

--I don't line my headdresses with fabric or leather. On a practical level this is to allow the caretaker of the hide to be able to treat it periodically with a leather conditioner, which you can't do if there's fabric in the way. If you've ever seen vintage fur rugs with felt linings, you'll notice a lot of them are dry to the point of rotting, and that's because there's no way to condition them as long as they're stitched together. Since conditioning is a vital part of ongoing care and can be a strong bonding process for the person who wears the skin, I don't want people to be dependent on me to remove and restitch a backing every time they want to condition the hide. It's also a weight issue; if you have a big wolf hide that already weighs several pounds, you don't want to add more pounds of fabric. Plus if you're dancing around a fire, I can speak from plenty of experience--fur is WARM. You want that additional air flow in there and less weight to keep from overheating! Not having a fabric backing allows for longer dancing. And on a spiritual level, fabric breaks the physical contact between the dancer and the hide; if you're in a situation where you're able to dance with little or no clothing, you don't want that fabric to still be in the way.

The majority of my supplies are from secondhand sources, such as old fur and leather coats, or beads from old jewelry. Everything made with animal parts is given a full ritual purification according to my spiritual path. A portion of the proceeds is donated to nonprofit organizations such as the Defenders of Wildlife.

Wolf totem headdress - real black wolf full skin fur totem decorated dance costume headdress mask with free animal myth

Overview

  • Handmade item
  • Materials: wolf pelt, leather, deerskin, deer tail, deer bone, deer antler, acrylic paint, coyote teeth
  • Feedback: 2617 reviews
  • Only ships to United States from Oregon, United States.
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