For my long-time followers, you know birds pop up in my work often. They are most definitely my muses. I love to observe them, to witness each species characteristics and culture, their distinct forms, figure, flight pattern and personality traits. A Scrub Jay is different in personality and energy than a Blue Bird. Chickadees run together in a tight flock, and Ravens pair off with a partner for life. Each one unique and wonderous. Here I have been charmed by the most common of birds, the American Robins. I always admire their upright stature, sleek feathers and of course their red russet chest that seems to say “here I am, look at me”. They spend time both on the ground hopping and browsing and in the trees chatting and communing (here is a link to hear their song and calls).
The thing is, for me to observe their busy-ness, I have to stop and be still. To hear their call and song I have to be quiet. To create these little odes to the American Robin I have to stop and consider them carefully to be quiet with them, to spend time creating this space for them in the form of a fabric collage. So, thank you robin, wren and bluebird; thank you raven, flicker and sparrow, you remind me to be still to be in your time not my time and you animate my creative verve.
I have developed this into a mixed media retreat so you fabric artist and quilters out there please invite me to your quilt guild to lead a workshop on making your own bird box fabric collage contact me through my website at lisathorpe.com
To see more in the Bird Box series see past post about Wrens.
The old proverb “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” took on new meaning for me this week. Typically the idiom is described as meaning its better to have something that is certain than take a risk to get more and lose everything. I’ve always thought of this phrase as having a bit of the coward in it, a fear of taking the leap into the unknown but this week I turned this little nugget upside down to find a deeper wisdom. You remember, dear reader, from last week’s post that I was kvetching about a challenge I’m doing for Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. I was given packet of Grafix materials and asked to feature them in a piece of art. For several days I was struggling “what to do, what to do?” pulling my hair out. So last Friday I decided to leave the slate blank and let it filter in. On Sunday I reread the email from Barbara Delany (assistant editor at CPS) in it she says “We are asking you to create artwork in your signature style, using the Grafix product”. Somehow this spoke to me in a different way. Use your signature style she said, be you, right then the phase a “bird in the hand” popped in my head. It came to me that there is no cowardice in digging down and doing what you know, there is wisdom in looking inward, taking stock and making something new out of what you have. This little fissure in my creative clog was all I needed to have productive, invigorating, satisfying studio day, a day unlike any I’ve had for months. And so I beseech you to turn inward when you find yourself flailing, grab hold of your greatest gifts, the birds flitting by are so bright and beguiling we forget we’ve been building a little nest in our hearts all along, each little stick of life experience tucked in to hold a rare and beautiful bird.
I got so inspired I made two very distinct pieces with the Grafix materials I’ll show the other one next week.