Into the Woods

Posted August 7th, 2012

Birch Bear

Today’s modern world is very technology driven with people spending more and more of their time staring at some kind of screen trying to stay connected and informed.  All the while, they sometimes miss out on the details and beauty of the natural world they inhabit.  Artist Phoebe Siter created Birch Bear to serve as a reminder for us to slow down, take a walk in the woods, and listen to the world breathe.

Learn more about her inspiration and artistic process in the Q & A below:


Phoebe Siter

What town/city do you live in?

Where is your studio? What is your usual artistic focus/genre, when you aren’t working on a bear?

My studio is in my home. I enjoy painting things from nature; flowers, landscapes, animals.  I also enjoy doing all things crafty, sewing, making and painting pottery and making useful art.

What was the process you used on the bear?

I started with just wanting to capture the birch texture.  I added the chickadee and flowers and created a little woodland scene.

What materials did you use and why did you choose them?

I stuck with what I’m comfortable with which is paint and polymer clay and epoxy clay.  I enjoy copying real life with paint and I love sculpting.

What is the theme for your bear and what was the inspiration?

My theme is called “Birch Bear.” Ever since I was little I have loved the textures and smells of the woods.  I love the tiny worlds of mosses and lichens and the strange little things you find growing in the woods if you look really carefully.  My research for “Birch Bear” involved a lot of walks in the woods!

A nice surprise right after I turned in my bear, we had a little chickadee move in to our birdhouse right after mother’s day to start her own family.

What have you loved about the project?

Getting the chance to meet other artists and share my work with everyone.  I’ve never really tried to paint birch texture before so it was I challenged myself to really inspect and get to know what it looks like.  I spent a lot of Zen moments contemplating birch paper peels.

In what ways do you hope your bear will move the folks who view it?

I want it to remind people to look slowly and closely at the natural world around us.  Take the time to stroll through the woods and spend a quiet moment listening to the leaves rustle and the world breathe.

What else would you like to say about your project or the Bear Fest as a whole?            

I really love the public art projects going on around the valley. I’m so honored to be part of it and hope it catches on with more towns.

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