Sunday, January 15, 2012

Who will hear the last bird sing? project in process

I have been as busy as a bird during nesting season; gathering, weaving, stitching, tying, pasting and all in all having fun. I am working on a series of nests. Just as birds gather grasses, twigs, threads and paper to build their parlours I too am using a mixture of media as paper, raffia, a grapevine wreath that I disassembled for its branches, grasses, wool, and just about anything that inspires me.

I have given myself one rule, and that is to use items I find, collect, have on hand or items bought at second hand stores, no new stuff allowed.

The first two were created using "nest" literally. The top one is hand woven with shredded paper strips, raffia and thread ends entwined to hold its shape. Completing the nest gave me a great sense of admiration for birds that weave intricate nests, wow, it was a challenge with ten digits yet birds do it with beak and toes.
The nest below was made from disasembled straw angels stitched with threads pulled from burlap and the angels fine hair. I cheated a little on this one by using a needle to hold the angel threads to more easily stitch around clumps of straw. Ok, now this really got me thinking - how the heck do weaver birds manage to build those fabulous hanging nests. Admiration triples.

Now I got a bit more creative and wove using a childs loom that was gifted when I was about ten years old.  A very long time ago I had given it to my daughter who recently gave it back to me rather than donating it to Goodwill. I must say I'm quite pleased she gave it back otherwise I may never have attempted to create the above hanging nest complete with Larch cones and wood beads.

The following nest is made of dried Lily leaves. My husband bought me a bouquet of burgundy colored Lilies for Christmas, and being the type who sees beauty in the evolution from fresh to translucent dry crinkle I waited to toss them till the petals fell to the table. Sweeping the last two flowers into hand spurred the inspiration for another nest. The petals were laid over a chicken eggshell but as most had already reached the dry state they did not stick together very well so I made a mash of paper and water and pressed the wet mash around the outside to hold the petals in place. Once the mash was dry I broke out the eggshell and Voila, the Lily Nest.

Now one may wonder why would I want to appropriate from the birds, well, it a statement really. I have painted beautiful birds art but does it get anyone thinking? I am not sure, but nests, well maybe they will and I hope once they are titled and presented with mini story descriptions of reality disguised as fantasy, then I hope they will make people think. To think about our environment and how we live in it and relate to it, and of course to think about that which is absent from these nests.


Sarah Bell Smith said...

I love your nests- great minds think alike. I have very similar reasons for creating my work. I'm a bit of a nature nut (like it seems you are) and am obsessed with collecting feathers, leaves, and other interesting bits and pieces. I love hugging trees as well, my husband gets embarrassed when i do it in public. Keep up the great work. I'm busy getting ready for the new job at the moment so unfortunately the nests are on hold. Great to think that 2 people so far away can have such common themes in work and common goals.

Carol Blackburn said...

Those are awesome, Tess. I have a couple of nests in my garage I've saved from around my yard. I only take ones I understand the birds won't reuse that way I'll have a real nest if I want to do a bird paintng. I find the weaving fascinating, too.

tess stieben said...

Sarah it seems that what ever an artist contemplate doing there are many others doing the same thing, what I find so wonderful is that even though the projects may be the same the outcome is richly diverse. All the best on your new job.

Carol I don't have any nests handy but I do need a photo looking down on a nest from above. If I am not able to find one here to photograph would you be able to shoot one of yours and send it via email?
Big Hugs