bears, Canadian Artist, Soapstone sculpture

Dancing bears

Happy carver, happy bears or something like that.

Not only do most of  my dancing bears make people smile  which is a nice feeling when people enjoy your art. But,  I enjoy doing the math that goes into making bears dance . Yes, strange as it sounds, I love to carve dancing bears because of the math.

It takes one thirty secondth of an inch out to make a dancing bear a bear who can’t stand on one foot.  Measure, have patience and do the math to make a bear that can balance on any flat surface. The mechanic in me loves the math.  The artist in me loves to figure out which way the head is coming out of the rock, should the paw be up or down or both.

Some bears just gotta dance.  I have carved ; aggressive bears, stalking bears, fishing bears but the dancing bears are just joyful no matter what I think they may start out like. Sometimes they are very traditional – no breaking dancing, or waving to the crowd but even those bears are never scary bears.

It says something about the carver I guess.  I have a long fuse and you probably wouldn’t want to have me behind you on a racetrack because I wouldn’t be there if I didn’t want to win but other wise, a happy carver makes happy bears. Dancing bears that is.


bears, soapstone

Bears , bears, bears

Exhausted Polar Bear Asian Soapstone

Submissive Bear

There is something about bears that attracts me to make them the focus of my art.

Mama bears, well fed bears or totally exhausted bears.  Just like people, bears have personalities that I try to capture those personalities in my art. Soapstone is an excellent medium for me to make bears.  This stone is alot more forgiving than wood and has much more personality than a limestone for example. Within the soapstone world, Brazilian soapstone has been my first choice of material .  A large part of this began with my mentor; Ben Henry who carves from Brazilian soapstone. Start with what you know. I do branch out into the different soapstone choices.  The range of colours  and hardness is endless . Each country has a different geological make up and therefore different colours appear in the stone. Brazilian soapstone generally has a  range of greens and browns, Canadian runs generally from greens to blacks and Asian the range includes; white to pinks and, there are many more.  Aquamarine, bright red – and we could go on.  The three bears pictured here two are Brazilian and  one is Asian soapstone.  Even with the same ‘mother’ rock, cutting off a piece of the same stone will generally have 2 bears that look very different from each other  .  No two people are exactly the same and no two bears will be the same. Differences are what make art so accessible to everyone and make it so enjoyable for me to carve.