Thursday, July 2, 2015

A She-Bear

One of the many things that happens for me on Swap-bot is that I can create more with fabric than just my quilts for some of the exchanges. 

While my struggles continue with the Cat quilt, some of my quilt block swaps, and even the Constellations border, when I turned my attention to something different, I was able to feel a sense of accomplishment.

I won the June Winner Take All Game in one of the groups. Each person who signs up, sends the winner something related to the theme and then, next month the winner sets the theme and handles the drawing. This particular group focuses on fairytales, myths and legends, so as winner in June, my theme for July is the She-Bear, for whom stories can be found all over the globe. Right away, my theme was challenged by a few people who had never heard of the She-Bear legends.

I was challenged to come up with something to make and give as my share of the prize to the potential winner.

A couple of years ago, my friend Roxanne from northern CA sent me fabric and felt, and while I have been using the gorgeous fabric, the felt proved to be more challenging. It is PERFECT for a flat-patterned bear that is blanket stitched around the edges and lightly stuffed. The buttons were part of a gift to me from another friend Beckie in WI. Stuffing and thread come from Lee's estate. 

On a personal note, several years ago, a brown bear had come down from the mountains and was chased into my back yard where she climbed a tree. She hung on for her life after they tranqed her, and literally broke the tree limb with her weight. I was told she was placed in a sanctuary. Lately, we have been seeing a lot of brown bears in town as they come down from the mountains for food and water.

The California Grizzly Bear was designated as the official state animal in 1953 (more than 30 years after the last one was killed). Before the grizzly bear was exterminated in Cali, this magnificent animal thrived in valleys and low mountains. Its believed that it lived here in greater numbers than anywhere else in North America. 

Now it is honored on the California state flag.

As the story goes, when humans poured into Cali, the grizzly would not retreat from the advancing civilization, killing livestock and interfering with settlements. Less than 75 years after the the discovery of gold, every grizzly bear in Cali had been tracked down and killed. 

My little blue felt bear with button eyes and a nose is only a caricature of these magnificent creatures. When I look at her, I am seeing something cute to sit on a shelf. I have to really let go of my desire to honor the She-Bear in a more artistic way and be willing to say it is enough.

Yet, it breaks my heart seeing how arrogant humans are to exterminate such a creature just because it remains true to itself.