Thursday, July 5, 2018

Bear Witness

Bear Witness, a stained glass mosaic silhouette, 27"x33",  2018
Available for Sale: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/product/wildfire/

This bear is s a metaphor that shows the reality and the danger of forest fires which the Mountain West faces every summer. The wildlife lives in that fragile landscape and has to find their way out when they are faced with the flames and the smoke of their habitat burning away. My Bear is their representative. It is walking though the burning landscape, being the much needed voice of its wild friends. 

Naturally many people are are also being displaced and loosing everything. There is nothing light about the issue of thousands of acres of land burning without containment. I hope that my recent work sheds some light on an issue many people don’t understand. Here in the West you really have to practice fire safety when the fire danger is high. We don’t get much rain and the danger to us all is very real. Let’s all hope for rain, low wind and send strength to the brave firefighters.

Close Up - the glass looks spectacular when the light hits it just right!

While I worked on this mosaic, surrounding wildfires burned thousands of acres of forest in mountains to the East, West an North of the San Luis Valley where I live.

View of the rising smoke from my daily walk along the Rio Grande. Recently the mountains were actually fully engulfed by the smoke and are no longer visible.


A close up of the fire East of Mt Blanca.

I hope that this mosaic helps to increase forest fire awareness as each year so many people, animals and forests are touched by the effects of fire, often wildfires that were caused by people which is the most devastating part.

The beginning of the project. Here I am working on my copyrighted bear silhouette. This is a special template I've created for my bear related projects.


Initially I was considering creating a pink sunset under the bear's back. But while testing my color palette, the orange glass screamed wildfire and this bear took a turn toward becoming a forest fire awareness piece.

 The stained glass is all cut, arranged and taped for gluing!

A close up of the glass shapes - each piece is hand cut to perfectly fit against its neighbors.

 My grouting set up.

Grouting the mosaic to give it a finished look and to protect the glass edges along the silhouette.

Another look at the finished mosaic. Here the light hits it a bit differently, showing a different characteristic of the glass.

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