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Wild Bear Designs

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Originally from Colorado, Twila Moon shares her
time between Big Sky and Seattle. In Big Sky, she lives
with her husband Chris Moon, a big sky fireman, her
dog Tio, and Kitty Greenpaw, who is not to be messed
with. In Seattle, she is completing her PhD in glaciology
at the University of Washington. A mountain girl
at heart, Twila loves being home in Big Sky.

My parents called me “wild bear” when I was
growing up. I was wild and independent and liked
to explore the woods. I thought that was a perfect
name for a business, because I think of my buckles
as playful and free-spirited.
Chris and I moved to Big Sky about [four] years ago. We moved there because I got a job working
for the Big Sky Institute
when they opened
an office in Big Sky.
I started the PhD program
at the University of
Washington last January.
They are on the quarter
system, so I’m in Seattle in
fall and spring, and in Big
Sky summer and winter.
I study earth science and
glaciology, mostly the
Greenland ice sheet. I
went to Greenland in
2006, and I expect to go there again. Hopefully I’ll
get to go to Antarctica for a field season, too.
I quilt and sew and
make cards. I also
still make jewelry,
like for Chris’s sisters’
Belt buckles are my
accessory of choice.
The pewter back part
of the belt buckles
with the hook and the
rim are called blanks.
I order them from
a little company in
Ohio. They’re solid
and have weight to
them. Hooks on belt
buckle blanks are not
created equal, and I
really like these.
I fill the blanks with whatever I like—collage, single
images, fabrics—then it takes a couple kinds of glue
coatings, and then I cover it with a hard resin that
takes a couple of days to dry.
I’m still playing with
images. I like natural designs and ones that are fun for
the ski crowd, but I make a wide variety.
I had seen similar belts from Little Green Things a
while ago, and I thought they were so cool. She tends
to stick with vintage images from old books and
magazines for her belts.
Big Sky is a nice place to start a little business and
sell things to tourists and people in the community.
There is a core group of people making arts and crafts
here, and I really like that. It makes me feel like it’s
not a really big step to start a business, and not overwhelming.
I now have a variety of genuine leather, made in the USA belts, which I sell separately from the buckles. I’d like to find
a Montana made belt. I haven’t found any I like that
are affordable. If you know anyone who is selling
good Montana-made belts, let me know.


Twila’s buckles are pewter, 2.5” x 3.25”, and have a hard clear coating to take a beating. She has a variety of unique
designs and can also make special order buckles. The buckles
fit 1.5” and 1.75” belts. Belts and buckles are available at Made in Big Sky, Grizzly Outfitters, JP Woolies, Monica’s Salon, at Northern Lights in Bozeman, she’ll be a regular at the summer Big Sky market.


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