Making a clay sculpture is often the first step in the bronze casting process. By using water-based clay to model the clay bear sculptures, Ranja was able to hollow out and fire the completed originals before continuing with the bronze casting process.
This way, the model can become a work of art in its own right.
Though Ranja has some bear stories of her own to tell, we’ve both been inspired to incorporate bears into our artwork by our time in Alaska which is home to all three of these bear species.
My father, Fred Dean, was a wildlife biologist who spent much of his life teaching at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. One of his primary passions was studying bears, particularly grizzlies. He spent a good deal of time doing research in Denali National Park.
After he retired from his teaching job, he went on to chair the grants committee of the International Bear Association for many years. The International Bear Association coordinates and supports bear research and conservation throughout the world.
One of my first experiences with sculpture was a small carving of a standing bear he made while doing summer research in the Brooks Range when I was a child.
Though these three clay bear sculptures are not for sale, she has made each available as a bronze sculpture.
Copyright 2015 Ranja Dean