Elizabeth Berrien · World Class Wire Sculpture and Illustration · ALEXANDER COCKBURN'S MILLENNIUM GRIZZLY
elizabeth berrien's bbc cables wire sculpture illustration wins the BIG WON award for #1 Innovative and Alternative 2008.
THE BIG WON
#1 Worldwide
Alternative/Innovative


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grizzly bear wire sculpture in Elizabeth Berrien's studio Alexander Cockburn recollects...

Being an optimist myself, back in September, I pondered how best to honor the new millennium, and decided to commission works of art, to be placed on the steep, wooded hill behind my house. This plan allowed me to approach Elizabeth Berrian, an artist living in Eureka, Calif., who makes wire animals. Back in the 1840s, an early settler in the Mattole Valley, where I live, reported in his journal that from a hilltop he could espy no less than 30 specimens of Ursus arctos horribilis, aka Ursus ferox -- grizzlies to you and me -- grubbing about looking for berries and bugs, or hunkered down on the edge of the Mattole, scooping up salmon. We still have mountain lions and brown bears, but the grizzly is long gone, so I commissioned Berrian to weave out of aluminum stainless wire a 9-foot grizzly, destined to haunt my hill.
alexander cockburn loads his grizzly bear wire sculpture in the back of his pickup truck In the months that followed, Ursus, hanging from a pulley in the barn where Berrian works, gradually grew in size to his present majestic 9 feet, and on Dec. 30, I drove up to Eureka in my truck to pick him up. We tied him on his back to the lumber rack, and I headed for home in the darkness. Halfway up a mountain grade, all power in the '68 Dodge truck failed. No lights. No power. No emergency brake. Low compression so the gears wouldn't hold me. Take my foot off the brake pedal, and either I'd roll back to the right and drop off the edge, or roll back to the left and drop into a ditch at the base of the cliff. Stay put, and some homeward-bound logging truck would plow straight through me. Ursus and I waited for the end. And it wasn't even Y2K yet.
The rancher in a mighty 350 Ford pickup didn't hit me. He had a chain, and pulled me to a safe spot, handing me his cell phone The AAA dispatcher 300 miles south in Petaluma patched me through to Jerry, who runs the local breakdown service at Tipple Motors in Ferndale. I told him I had a wire grizzly on my rack, and if necessary, he should pull me 50 miles home to Petrolia, almost a freebie on my triple-A plus card, one of the greatest bargains in America. In the end, Jerry fixed the truck, and Ursus and I puttered south under the stars. The next day, Jerry called and said he'd had a call from the AAA office in Petaluma, wanting a photo of "the wild grizzly" reported by the night dispatcher as having been tied to a truck up in Humboldt. On New Year's Day, we unveiled Ursus before an admiring crowd of Petrolians, and now, he's up on my hillside, a ghostly intimation of the past that we should honor more, while simultaneously fearing the future less.
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World Class Wire Sculpture · Elizabeth Berrien (707) 445-4931 · email wireladye@yahoo.com

Content and images © Elizabeth Berrien. All rights reserved. · Updated Oct 7, 2011 · this page valid HTML 4.01

elizabeth berrien's bbc cables wire sculpture illustration wins the BIG WON award for #1 Innovative and Alternative 2008.
THE BIG WON
#1 Worldwide

elizabeth berrien's bbc cables wire sculpture illustration wins the Clio award.
CLIO
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins two coveted cannes gold lions in 2008.
Cannes Festival
Double Gold
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins two coveted ADC gold cubes in 2008
ADC
Double
Gold
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins the coveted Obie Best of Show award 2008.
OBIE
Best of Show
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins two coveted Andy gold awards 2008.
Andy
Dbl Gold
elizabeth berrien's bbc cable wire sculpture illustration wins one show gold pencil awards 2008.
One Show
Gold
elizabeth berrien's wire sculpture illustration wins double grand awards at London International Awards2008.
London International
Dbl Grand
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