Bear Revisited…


Preparing for a shop update this week has me in a bit of a frenzy, so much so I forgot it was my turn to post here! I hope you don’t mind a little reprise of a previous post about the topic of Bear. It is somewhat timely as I am featuring bears in my update on April 22 (Earth Day).

Shop update frenzy in the studio!
Stringing beads…

Some of my new Bear-inspired beads…

Bear focals by me (Starry Road Studio).
Bear inspired Drum Beads, by me (Starry Road Studio).

And now for the post I previously published on the topic of Bear…

Bear is one of the most represented animals in human cultures throughout time, all over the world. There are many meanings and interpretations. I am most drawn to american indian depictions, stories, and songs.

Vintage Ursa Major star map print



Bear is one of my totem animals, and holds the north coordinate on my medicine wheel. Bear represents (for me), a time of healing and meditation, of embracing the dark days of Winter as a precious time to hibernate and reflect inward, in preparation for the renewal of Spring. The long Winter nights – the dreaming time – are a strong component of Bear presence, along with the stars we gaze upon, hinting at a deeper universe.

Ursa Major by Speakerine / Florent Bodart


Bears Star, by ArtGalla


Stargazey Bear by Jo Wright of Bear Print Design



Bear has been represented in human art for thousands of years. And this includes beads and jewelry. I am focusing primarily on art here, along with a few samples of beads that have been inspired by Bear.

Hopi Kachina Mask: Hon / White Bear Kachina


Spirit Bear Mask by Brad Starr
Haida Sea Bear Mask, Metropolitan Museum of Art 


Tlingit Totem Pole; photo by Tim Bean


Ancient Haisla Bear totem; photo by Pete Ryan


Hopi Kachina: Hon, White Bear


Zuni Bear Fetish by Bernard Homer


Zuni Bear fetish in my collection by Bernard Homer


Star Gazer Bear – Zuni Fetish by Jimmy Yawakia


Bear charms by Kylie Parry


Little Brown Bear by Rebekah Payne / Tree Wings Studio


Black Bear charm by BeaKaz 


Ceramic Bear by Claire Lockwood


Aurora Bear by Naos Glass


Polymer Bear pendant and jewelry by Luann Udell.


Bear Totem by me (Karen Totten / Starry Road Studio)
Here is an anisnaabe song: Spirt Bear Song. Not too much to see in this video as the camera is positioned behind the drumming circle. But the song comes through nicely. 🙂 I invite you to find a quiet moment and allow your heart to join in the drumbeat, and let the song sink in.

I hope you enjoyed this brief tour of Bear. How does Bear figure in your own life and work?
I’d love to hear!


Karen Totten

Karen has worked professionally as an artist and designer for over 30 years in a variety of creative disciplines: architectural design, illustration, art direction, mixed media art, interaction design. She currently works full time as a User Experience (UX) Design Principal for an international consultancy. When not flying to work every week, her other passions are ceramic art, sketching, and occasionally, jewelry design. “For me, the creative life, from UX to fine art, has always been one of exploration and adventure. As the daughter of an air force navigator, I grew up a traveler. To this day I am intrigued by stories and motifs that transcend time, culture, and geography.“
  1. Reply

    Bear is one of my favorite totem animals. I enjoyed all of your representations of him.

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