According to Martin Davenhall: “The bear itself is one of a kind. The very first to have been made in this way. It is made from thousands of shards of granite and engineered stone, individually cut and polished by hand. Then glued together. It is a very time-consuming process. And difficult, especially in the winter as the stone is always cold and you need water to polish the pieces. The glue would take forever to dry and I would need to hold the piece in place for up to twenty minutes.
The result is impressive as it meant I could achieve the shading which could not have been possible if I had made it out of one piece. It is eight foot tall and 2 ton, held together with a metal and stone structure and has an aerospace grade carbon fiber inner shell. The table was made to look like it is suspended as if the bear holds it in place. The frame under the table is hidden inside the feet and can hold up to 5 tonnes and is made from 100mm box section. The hand-carved oak mirror is antique from 1850 ish. Which was Queen Victorias era. It has been black lacquered and gold leafed.
It was a large project. Ten years from concept to completion. The last 4 years I have worked on it full time. It was difficult as I also have a family and mortgage, but I just hit the hours to get it over the line. I did get quicker towards the end as at the start I had to create the way to make it work. I have no formal training and this is my first sculpture. I didn’t even want to start small. I wanted to take the risk and do something that had never been done before. and build up to the bear.
I worked as a granite worktop fitter for over 15 years in Manchester. The hours were long and the money only okay if you hit the long days. I would have to carry in big weights and my body was getting worn out. I became disillusioned with this way of working and living. The average day was 8 hours fitting and 8 hours driving. 7 days a week. So I had lots of time whilst driving to dream up the bear. A lot of people told me that I was crazy and the idea was stupid. But it made complete sense to me.
The inspiration for the piece came from witnessing mans need for luxury and how we are destroying the world. This is why I wanted the bear to hold the mirror, Micheal Jackson said it best. If you want to make the world a better place. Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.”