EAST BURKE — Polar bears are taking shape in the snow outside the Burke Mountain Club.

Katherine Richmond, of Kirby, who discovered her ability and desire for sculpting while living near sandy beaches in Gloucester, Mass., now has snow to work with and is creating a sculpture in the village featuring a mother bear and two cubs.

The mother bear is large with one cub perched on her back and the other one sitting between her front paws. To accumulate the snow she needed, Richmond hauled trash barrels full of snow from her home on Locust Ridge Road, which is in Kirby but less than 2½ miles from the Mountain Club.

On Tuesday afternoon she was carving and shaving the bears into shape. She said snow conditions were perfect on Tuesday and expected temperatures would be right on Wednesday for her to finish the sculpture.

The bears are in a prominent spot near Route 114 as Richmond responded to an invitation to sculpt from the Burke Mountain Clubhouse Trustees. They are inviting anyone to build snow sculptures in the large open area. At Christmastime, people are invited to decorate Christmas trees there. The invitation to sculpt is open through February and March. Richmond said she hopes her bears will inspire others to go and create sculptures in the area.

It’s not the first snow sculpture of the season for Richmond. In her yard outside her home is a whale’s tale that is eight feet high and 12 feet wide. At end of the tale are icicles and columns of ice that reach the ground, designed to look like water falling from a whale’s tale that raises out of the water. The icicles came the roofline of her home.

She previously lived near the ocean in Massachusetts, which inspired her choice for the sculpture outside her home. “I wanted to bring a little bit of the ocean to Vermont,” she said.

When she lived near the beach she discovered a gift for making sculptures out of sand. She recalled making large mythical creatures there that drew a lot of interest.

Richmond is a professional photographer (online: www.katherinerichmondphotography.com), but her artistic talents extend in many different ways, said her friend and a Burke Mountain Clubhouse Trustee Karen Wilson. “She’s an all-around multi-talented artist,” said Wilson, who admired the bear sculpture as Richmond worked on it Tuesday. Wilson and Richmond were once roommates at Lyndon State College and are now neighbors.

Richmond said she hope other people will create sculptures near hers in East Burke Village. Just as she discovered her skills in sculpting by just having fun on the sandy beach, she said someone else may discover there’s in the snow.

“The only way to find out is to get out there and do it,” she said.

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