Bear Cub Totem

I made this little bear cub early on in my sculpting adventures, about a year ago.  He’s a buff stoneware clay – not glazed, but dipped in melted beeswax.

Connie Smith taught us the beeswax technique in a class I took from her last June.  In fact, that class was really the beginning of my working in ceramic clay.  Connie didn’t glaze her pieces, but colored them with mason stains brushed onto wet clay.  So I think she was using the beeswax both to protect the stains a bit (though I don’t know if they need protection) and also to give the piece a little sheen.

The beeswax also feels so nice in the hand, which is an added plus for a little totem.

The stones I used are turquoise, variscite, and amber, with variations among both the amber dark to light yellowish gold) and (dark to light green) variscite bead colors.  I attached them with artificial sinew, which I also use for my (few and far between) pine needle baskets since I am quite adverse to using animal products that harm animals (don’t know about the beeswax, now that I think about it. Even if harvesting beeswax doesn’t directly harm the bees, it may frustrate them!)

When I sculpted this bear I didn’t leave a good way to wrap the sinew, so I’ll have to remember to do that in sculpting future totems.


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