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The five-foot-long, three-feet wide mother bear is still a work in progress. McAuley suspects he’ll need up to 15,000 forks to complete the sculpture plus another estimated 3,000 to 5,000 forks for the cub. In total, he suspects the project will cost around $15,000 for the materials and require 600 hours of work.
Welding wire acts as the skeleton for the bear while the forks stand-in for the animal’s thick fur. The cub will be tucked underneath the mother. McAuley said he originally thought of putting the cub on the mother’s back but decided to have it under her to better illustrate the bear’s protective nature. The bears will be placed on top of a base made up of epoxy resin to make it look like ice.
He said he was drawn to using cutlery because he noticed there was a lot available. However, he found forks were tougher to get.
“I basically cleaned out Edmonton’s thrift stores of all their forks,” he said. “I did Medicine Hat two or three weeks ago. I did Medicine Hat because we were down there for a tractor pull. Then I did Calgary on Monday. I filled up my pickup in Calgary. There are more spoons than forks. There’s probably twice or three times as many knives.”
McAuley, who lives out in the Pigeon Lake area roughly a hundred kilometres southwest of Edmonton, said he’s probably collected around 40,000 knives throughout his journey.
“I don’t just buy forks, I buy everything,” he said. “I’ll use it on something later.”
McAuley said he’s not sure what he will do with the bear and cub once it’s completed but hopes to find it a good home somewhere.