Joyce Clements
Joyce Clements Artist                             PO Box 39 Bolinas CA 94924                                            415-868-1008
Inner Ear of the Blue Whale
Actual size:
3.5” x 4.5” x 5.5”

Carved from California Live Oak

A few years ago, I learned that the use of sonar surveillance by the US Navy and other navies throughout the world is injuring and killing whales. The ear of the whale, as well as other organs, is the entry point for the harm and death that result from dangerous levels of exposure to sonar.

As a sculptor, I need to establish physical touch with things that have a strong emotional impact on me. So, I went to the “bone room” of the Museum of Vertebrate Biology at UC Berkeley and asked to be shown and to be allowed to hold the inner ear of the whale. I kept the form inside myself for two years. I knew that I had to try to bring it into existence so that other people could experience how small and beautiful this hearing vessel is.

This particular inner ear, my carving, is my best reflection of one from the Blue Whale, Balaenoptera musculus, the largest animal ever in existence. As adults, they can be 100 or more feet long and weigh up to 330,000 pounds. The population of Blue Whales is thought to be somewhere around 10,000 animals. The Blue Whale is listed as an Endangered Species.