Polar Bear Family

This is my favorite totem so far.  But then, I say that about all of them just after they’re finished!  The rock which is a piece of quartz I got at the local landscaping materials place is 3 1/2″ long.  This makes the baby bears pretty small.  For example, the sitting one is 5/8″ tall.

The bears are polymer clay with glass seed beads for eyes.  I coated the bears with mica powders before I baked them.  I used pearl white and interference blue on the fur, interference blue on the noses, deep red in the mom’s mouth, and a tiny bit of black around the eyes and nose.  I lost control of the black mica powder on the sitting bear’s right eye which gives him sort of a raccoon look!

The quartz had a little discoloration, so I painted the top surfaces with interference blue and interference green acrylic.  The paint also helps integrate the rock with the bears.  The interference colors are transparent, so there is a mica sheen but you can see through it – the rock’s texture and color isn’t obscured.

To make it a totem, I added some beads.  The tiniest ones are glass seed beads.  The colored round ones are kyanite – I selected particularly light beads from the strand – the white round ones and the carved leaf are frost quartz, the irregular clear is quartz, the irregular translucent pale blue are blue chalcedony, and the faceted bead at the end of the left strand is rainbow moonstone.

As far as it being a totem, the proper thing to do would have been to research the spiritual meaning of polar bears then find stone that have matching or complimentary meanings.  But I was making a personal totem rather than an “authentic” one.  To me, polar bears have an incredible strength from living with grace in such a forbidding landscape.  So pearls would have been appropriate in terms of meaning, but I didn’t think they worked well visually, so I used transparent and translucent stones in colors that are reminiscent of ice.  In the end, it’s a warm and soothing take on a cold and hostile place that is nonetheless home.

I think mom has a sweet face, and I’m happy with this piece.  I made it to replace the carnelian bear totem on my website because it sold, but I will have a hard time parting with this one!


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