*Denim Lapis medicine bear by Zuni Leland Boone
*Handmade glass beads by Karen Ovington
*Denim lapis, baby olive heishi
*Sterling setting, beads, findings, leverback earrings
*Signed, numbered, dated

Length: 18" - 23" (46 cm - 58 cm)
Bear:  2 5/8" x 2" (6 cm x 5 cm)
Drop:  3 1/8" (8 cm)
NOTE Weight: 6.7 oz (189 gm)

Earring drop length: 1.25" (3 cm)
Earring weight: 3.8 gm ea (a nickel weighs about 5 gm)

Set #545 - Sold

Denim Medicine Bear Set

Denim Bear Necklace
Denim Bear Necklace
Denim Bear Necklace Back
Denim Bear Necklace on model
Denim Bear Earrings
Denim Bear Necklace
Hover to zoom, Click to expand

This sweet denim lapis bear with inlaid coral eyes was carved by Leland Boone in a traditional medicine bear pose with nose to the ground, seeking medicinal herbs. She has an offering bundle of pink shell, coral and turquoise. Bear is the protective and healing animal of the west and has great curative abilities, blue is the color of the west. Our bear is dusted with white, the color of the most powerful bear healers. Bear, known as "clumsy-foot" is rarely used as a hunting fetish.

Reading Brian Payton's extraordinary Shadow of the Bear recently I was struck by how fortunate we are in the United States to have protected our bears. Bears in other countries of the world have not fared so well. Yes the little rascals can be a problem, eating hikers' lunches, breaking into cars and restaurants, feasting in trash cans... but we have the marvelous possibility of encountering bear in its traditional territory. The Navajo know that bear can sense when people are afraid or lost. They say if you are lost, bear will lead the way back to where you need to go. In fact, when Navajos were sold into slavery in Mexico "in the old days" escapees were often led out of the wilderness by bears. The grizzly, our native San Diego bear, was extirpated before 1900. I have hiked extensively here for many years and heard reports of the occasional black bear wandering through. One day many years ago, hiking in Cuyamaca, I kept noticing a lot of scat and thought to myself, "my that must be a big coyote;" then "my that coyote is eating a lot of berries;" then "oh my, that's not a coyote!!!" I never expected to see a bear here though of course I've encountered them in other places. I guess I was incredibly lucky to have seen one here since apparently only 11 sightings were reported between 1991 and 2000 which is probably when I saw it. I couldn't find any sighting information for the most recent decade, perhaps because the massive wildfires in 2003 and 2007 sent any stragglers packing.

In order to make this carving wearable I made little sterling bear coveralls. Although the bundle was secure, you can't hang the bear from the sinew wrap because it will stretch immediately and fall off. This one has adhesive under the pink point, but I never rely on adhesive to hold a heavy pendant. I wrapped the rather substantial bear with cable to secure her and strung tiny heishi on the cable to make it comfy for her. One of the strands runs through the beads on the medicine bundle to protect them. You can see from the photo of the back that I take great pains to show as much of both sides of the bear as possible, including her beautiful eyes.

The large elements on either side of the centerpiece are handmade glass beads by Karen Ovington. Unlike most glass beads, hers are right at home with natural stone. In fact, a gem dealer once mistook one of her beads for rhyolite! Denim lapis beads, sterling beads and a fish for lunch complete the composition.

Won't you give this pretty bear a good home? Perhaps she will guide you if you ever feel lost.