Silhouettes: A Tribute to the Bears


I get a lot of inspiration from the outdoors. Pretty easy when you are lucky enough to live in the spectacular playground of Lake Tahoe. One of my neighbors that keeps me in a state of awe, is the black bear. It’s become commonplace to see bears rooting around in our yard or brazenly strolling down the street. No matter how many times I see them, I’m still amazed. I love to watch them explore (as long as that trek doesn’t include foraging in my trash!) and I never lose the “little kid” surprise of seeing them saunter comfortably through the neighborhood.

We do need to become better stewards of our interactions with the bears, especially the contained trash situation here in Tahoe. But, that’s a story for another time. Today I want to share a little about the how and why of our Bear Silhouettes.

My Bears are crafted from reclaimed wood, mostly pallets, but I’ll use reclaimed fence boards or decking or anything else I can get my hands on.

First, I use my bandsaw and scroll saw to cut some Bear “backs” out of plywood – I use reclaimed plywood as much as I can, but I do have to buy some on occasion – Then, I pick and choose pieces of wood to cover the plywood silhouette completely and glue and nail them on in different patterns and let that dry. At this point, I have a blob of interesting reclaimed wood covering a plywood Bear silhouette. So I cut the Bear shape out of the top layer, sand and grind and finish it depending on what the material I used was – often, I will burn the wood and give it a quick sanding, as an easy way to bring out the grain or even enhancing the already distressed appearance before giving it a finishing coat that is usually exterior grade, so you can hang them practically anywhere.

Black bears are not always “black,” their fur can range in color from pure white to a cinnamon color to very dark brown or black. In that spirit, none of our bear silhouettes are exactly the same and they vary in color.

Check them out at