22 August 2008

Home to Roost

So it seems I've started a bird collection. Unintentionally. Maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me something. I did a small series of folkloric bird art quilts about 12-15 years ago and it might be time to revisit the subject.

Back in December I acquired three collages from the talented and prolific Randel Plowman. He makes a collage every day and offers them for sale on his blog. Birds are a frequent subject. I love his colors, compositions and use of found object papers and couldn't resist three of his birds. The collages are 4" square.

In early June I came across a bead and wire bird online and was enchanted not only by the bird but the story behind the bird. StreetWires is a South African company that is addressing unemployment and poverty by providing training, support and raw materials to over 100 men and women in community development projects in Cape Town and Johannesburg. I found a StreetWire bird in a local store in July and took him home. Beautiful art that's doing good, it doesn't get any better than that. This funky little bird is about 12" long and 8" high and is made of just glass beads and wire.

The newest bird is all Sandy Donabed's fault, LOL. She posted an intriguing picture to her blog of a trio of steampunk birds and I fell in love. The artist, Jim Mullan, doesn't have a website (!!) and it took a bit of tracking down, but I found two galleries that had his birds in stock and will sell over the internet. The Tanzania Jay arrived yesterday and he's gorgeous!

The smaller of Mullan's birds were hand-carved in the 1950s (he also makes larger crows - one of which will be arriving at my house in September!) and he's turned them into eclectic one-of-a-kind pieces of art, incorporating vintage pieces and cast-offs such as croquet balls, binoculars and old toys.

As a delightful surprise, I discovered that my little Jay has a bee on one side of his head - perfect! The bird stands about 5" tall.

I had never heard the term "steampunk" before and after some research discovered that I've been into this for a looooong time and never knew it had a name or was a whole subgenre of literature, art, fashion and performance. For example, I watched the television series The Wild, Wild West in reruns religiously when I was a kid and it's classic steampunk fiction. Who knew?


Mary Ann Littlejohn said...

The bird with the black and white striped wings and beaded crown is a hoopoe. I love it's Latin name Upupa epops. Sounds like a rock & roll song. We used to see them often as they were migrating to and from North Africa. Supposedly the crown was given to the bird by King Solomon for some good dead, which I can't remember. They are spectacular when they fly.

Mary Ann Littlejohn said...

I left a couple of words out of previous long comment. "When we lived in Saudi Arabia we used to see them"

Kristin L said...

Your bird is fantastic! Although not a steampunk aficionado, I do like a bit of it now and then. I've seen some really wonderful steampunk Lego creations lately. I had totally forgotten about Wild, Wild West -- thanks for the reminder. :-)

norma said...

I love your new bird, Jane. He was worth waiting for. Isn't it funny how these "collections" creep up on us. Your beaded bird is fantastic!

Fabián Fucci said...

Beautiful artwork!

Plain Jane said...

well, I have quite a bird collection too, but NOTHING like your glamorous collection! gorgeous.