Saturday, December 14, 2013

Three birds make a garland

dc124: garland

There's a flock of flat paper birds laying to dry inside large heavy books stacked on the floor by my work table. They were to be a garland of birds in the end. But they will have to stay for awhile longer inside the books I'm afraid...for while waiting for them to dry, I came across a picture in a magazine that turned my world upsidedown.

I'd been leafing through a magazine while waiting in the lineup at the craft store, and came across a picture that made my stomache leap and my heart thump at the same time. This picture was everything that I could have ever dreamed of, or imagined, but didn't. Some one else did. I thank them with all that I have to give in the way of happy gratitude. This person connected dots for me; my dots; that have been bouncing around inside of my brain for longer than I admit and with nowhere to go but to continue bouncing. So my garland offering for this drawing challenge will be my version of what I saw in the magazine. I put together three birds which will make my garland. They hang from a swath of old crochet.

Yes, they are unfinished in the photo, but time is of the constraint. I'm showing you their bones (or armature) because the next step is something I've never done before, and if I screw it up my birds are toast. The next step is to coat them in wet plaster, applied with a palette knife (I'll know better when I get to it.)

Meanwhile, here is my list of dots that were inside of my head:
1. Using rose thorns as beaks.
2. Using nails as beaks (I'd not thought of spines yet.)
3. Using a metal hanging hook at the top of the bird that was connected inside to the feet/legs of the bird.
4. Using beads as eyes.
5. Using a cardboard weight chunk of paper inside of the bird shape where the metal bits are attached to make a mini armature. This is the absolute necessary step for my fairy birds which I've been making for years.
6. Using an acorn cap for a hat.
7. Stuffing the bird with soft fibre fill.
8. Putting sparkle on the bird.
9. Having a quote or word, either on the outside of the bird, or tucked into the inside. Every doll, bird, or thing I've ever made has a word or something on or in it. I cannot stand the idea that something that is real (it comes alive as I construct it) would have an empty head or heart or soul. (cue the spooky music) These birds have the words, love, faith, and gratitude inside of their little bodies.
10. Having the wings tied on. I've not done it, but seen it done and had made a mental note to add to my bouncing dots inside of my head.
11. Using plaster of paris. I've had a 25-lb. box of dental plaster (which I purchased for use in making molds) sitting around here for at least ten or more years. BUT I DID NOT THINK EVER, OF USING PLASTER OF PARIS ON THE BIRD ITSELF APPLIED FREELY ON THE OUTSIDE. This is not my idea and is the crucial turning point in my being able to connect all of the above dots together. I thank Debra Smith, whole heartedly for her talent and original art form. And, for giving instructions in the magazine. This year I did think of making snowmen and sewed an armature of stuffed fabric from upholstery samples, and had planned to cover it with paper strips for a paper mache 'look' that is described in the next point (12), but my daughter, when I showed her the armatures and described what I wanted to do with them, asked me about what would happen if mold occurred inside. It stopped me dead in my tracks.
12. I love the look of these birds but am going to take it a step further. For this point number 12, I have been wanting to create paper mache birds with the newspaper or strips of paper from old books showing clearly on the outside of the bird, and with tiny black dots for eyes. So I will be coating the plaster with an outside layer of paper strips and then perhaps a dusting of snow glitter, and I will have successfully (I hope) connected all of these bouncing dots inside of my head.
13. Of course you know that the absolute final step in the making of my birds, is that each bird will get 'banded' with its' own number. I am up to the 130s or thereabouts now.

While I was putting together these birds, I came across this (refer to point number 3 above) which is about three years old and has been banging around in my sewing basket all of that time, and has now lost the original shine of the chicken wire and taken on a dull patina. I never threw it out because I knew some day I'd be able to figure out how to use it. I had faith. Three years later...ta da!

Who is responsible for this drawing challenge fun? Nadine, of course! It was she that took on the role of host and given us this wonderful theme of 'garland.' Thank you friend! If you want to visit the folk who participated in this week's challenge, just pop over to tiny WOOLF where you'll be linked. Thank you for visiting today, and I hope to see you again soon. Norma, x


  1. Hi Norma, thank you for this charming post! I love the idea of the birds with the words inside, not being empty.. leena

  2. this is an excellent garland, Norma,
    I try to imagine you working gently with your hands to make every detail of these birds, very focused on your work
    I love seeing artists very focused on what they do!
    Your garland is beautiful! :))

  3. it's a fortune bird, as in cookie.
    oh my, norma, you've actually played your wonderful film of undertaking again. enjoyed every of your steps and dots and am, of course, not to put any pressure on ya, looking forward to how this adventure unfolds.
    sparks like these are priceless!

  4. i love your garland already as it is
    and love the idea of the words inside
    that made me ;^)))
    but it's nice when something wonderful
    turnes your world upside down
    and you can make a next step
    take your work to the next level
    i am looking forward!

  5. I love the crochet and the hat, so very nice - unfinished or not, your garland is perfect and it´s so your style.
    Have a fine weekend dear Norma!
    x Stefanie

  6. hello Norma, as always your post is telling me of your pleasure and passion in creating, your quest for improvement and perfection and showing us perfect work already doing so.ofcourse i love the word inside, each bird its own song xx

  7. Hi norma, so cute and festive your white little birds with all the fine embellishments. Your phantastic birds are hanging in my little office in the window and I'm happy about them every day!!!
    Have a nice season!
    Barbara Bee

  8. i love your birds and their beaks! they have such personlities! don't they?

  9. OK that one with the acorn hat is the bomb! Norma- I just saw your plaster version of him cause I'm late responding...or maybe your early ;)
    they are wonderful and I'm sure your daughter will love it!!
    Thanks so much for sharing your process it's always an inspiration!

  10. Gosh, what a great lot of ideas, Norma!! I am gasping for breath! The bird wearing the acorn is just a delight! Wow!

  11. oh norma, you are the greatest! so many ideas - I love them all and I'm curious for the result !
    :-) mano

  12. It looks beautiful, I love how your mind works! So many ideas, I can't wait to see them and this garland is really wonderful, love the birds! (and thank you so much for your thoughts on my painting. I really appreciate it that you wanted to tell me this memory of yours, it means a lot to me, because it was not an easy memory I think, thanks so much! because my painting did something....)

  13. I love your garland! I love your birds! I love their beaks, and their feet and their style! I love the colours and the crocheted piece! I love that they have words inside! But what I love most is your sharing of your thought process and how all the dots are connecting. It is just my favourite! Thank you so much for sharing.

  14. i love your idea of a rose thorn for a beak, i love all things rose
    i also love all things oak, so the cap is wonderful

    they are each so very charming
    as is your plaster birdie too!

    lovely holidays to you and yours!

  15. These are so cute, especially the last one with his hat...such a nice guy!


Your comments make my day! Thanks for dropping by and we'll see you soon, I hope, *smiles* Norma


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...