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Teddy Bears for Highland Park - Part 2

     A project like this one, with multiple pieces, needed to be choreographed. We employed two other capable carvers to execute two of the smaller bears from our scale models and worked very closely with sawyers on the large dimensioning cuts. When the big blocks arrived for the largest bear, the stone was checked for flaws and measured against the scale models for accuracy. Cutting away large pieces before shipping to the studio saved a lot of time and effort, but there was still tons of stone to remove by pnuematic drills and smaller diamond saws.

     Within weeks a form was emerging. Although each of the sections were worked separately, they were proceeding at nearly the same pace and it would be just a matter of time before we could assemble them into a coherent whole, and finish them as one piece.

     We needed to remove the head one more time to fit the bronze band for the bow tie, which we fabricated from one-eighth inch sheets of silica bronze. Bent and shaped textured loops formed the bows and ribbon. All were TIG-welded together at the center of the band and the welds were capped and hidden by a knot of cast bronze. The cascading ribbons were pinned and epoxied to the body during installation.

     Every potential installation problem was worked out in the studio by dry-fitting the entire assembly. When the two body halves were assembled, a piece of paper would not fit between them, and the bronze band of the bow tie obscured the joint between the body and head. The center seam of the body was carved to resemble the stitching you would see on a toy teddy bear.

     The three smaller bears were nearing completion and the other elements of the composition were being prepared for fitting. A small gray bear, that appeared to be sliding on an inclined boulder, was fitted to the incline by leveling the area on the boulder where it would be pinned and secured. A small pink bear was fitted to a stump of petrified wood, intently studying an oversized bronze bumblebee. This one actually needed the stump for support, so the contact area of the stump was jointed to fit the granite paws. The bronze bee would be pinned and epoxied to the top of the stump, next to the bear's paws. A small black bear was fitted to make contact at the foot of the large bear.

     To accommodate planting, all of the pieces were raised on six-inch granite sub-bases cut to fit within their respective "footprints." These sub-bases were below grade and allowed the soil to be back-filled up to and under each sculpture, so planting of seed around each was uninterrupted by a visible foundation.

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