A design firm out of Ohio contacted me last year about creating a custom bear for their client’s restaurant. This client opened a restaurant in London, England featuring a huge, bronze bear covered in intricate scrollwork designs. They are opening a second restaurant this side of the pond in Florida, and wanted a similar bear to showcase in their new restaurant.
We went over bronze and foam/resin options. They decided to go with the foam/resin option with a bronze-like finish. Since foam is far lighter than bronze, this bear would be much less beastly to ship – first to the design firm in Ohio, and then to the restaurant in Florida for the final install.
This is a preliminary sketch outlining the basic stance.
I started carving out of an enormous block of 3 lb. density EPS foam…
When I got the basic shape smoothed out, I covered the bear with two coats of hard epoxy resin (Epsilon Pro from Smooth-on). This prepped the bear for the next step- a thick layer of FreeForm Air. FreeForm is a carvable epoxy dough from Smooth-on. It took about 13 gallons to cover the bear!
Once the whole sculpture was covered with FreeForm, I started drawing on the scrollwork. It took me about 40 hours to complete – and this is before any carving!
Next, my son and I started carving the scrollwork. Carving took about 100 hours to complete. During all this detailed, up-close carving it truly felt like I was creating a Beast!
Once the carving was finished, I painted the entire bear to look like bronze and prepared it for shipment to Ohio. Check out the finish pics below as well as the time-lapse video of the entire process!