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About this time last year, I was contacted by local Landscape Architect, Lisa Howard, at Bay Tree Design. Lisa was designing a children’s play space for a residential garden.
The family loved the idea of an animal for their children to ride. The client and her husband were graduates from Brown University so it seemed fitting to build a bear.

I started by thinking about dimensions because we wanted the bear to be just the right size for two little ones to sit on at the same time. I made some sketches and a small clay maquette. Once we had those approved it was time to build the full sized bear – over 4 feet long, from nose to tail!

I built the bear with water clay, over an armature. I then made a plaster backed polyurethane mold so the bear could be cast in bronze.  I took the mold to Tom Schrey, at Artworks Foundry. The foundry poured wax into the mold and then used the lost wax casting process to make our bronze bear.

The whole process took about 6 months, from concept to installation. The bear is now very happily living surrounded by ferns, at the edge of a dry creek. And the kids are very happy she is there too!

Jillian Banks-Kong ( is a local sculptor, and also happens to be the graphic designer for the WBDL!

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