Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One Birdie, Two Birdie, and so much more

Bird by bird is a mantra I use often, especially when things seem to be getting a bit out of control.  When my monstrous list of things paralyzes me  I just remind myself bird by bird (thank you, Anne Lamott), one thing at a time and I can breathe more easily.  Not surprisingly,  with all my recent life transitions, I have been reciting this phrase a lot, even hourly depending on the day.  So there should be no wonder that birds are taking center stage in my artwork!! And I am loving it.Now birds are no strangers to my work - they wormed their way on to the walls of 'this comes from within' and there are many daily dresses referring to 'bird by bird'.  For me birds symbolize many ideas - freedom, Spring, rebirth, nesting, nurturing, mothering, singing and flight.  So I am so happy to be featuring birds in two upcoming art/installation events.
First is this utmost exciting installation that I have been commissioned to create for the Attleboro Public Library.  I was ask to come up with a community participatory installation/sculpture to celebrate National Poetry Month (which is April).  I am working with a spectacular and passionate librarian, Amy Rhilinger. (click here to read an article about one of the many poetry projects that Amy initiated) Amy saw my piece 'insatiable' at the Green Exhibit and the Attleboro Arts Museum this summer and loved how people could add to the piece.  She contacted me to help create a similiar project for her library.  
After meeting and seeing the space and figuring in finances, we brain stormed on what would work best.  We both wanted to incorporate recycled material since Earth Day is also in April and we both loved the idea of highlighting the endless possibilities of materials that we usually cast aside. Our first idea was a quilt like banner using recycled materials.  After many weeks of cutting fusing plastic bag and sewing them together, or experimenting with uses of subscription cards with the idea of creating a quilt like banner - I was stumped.  I didn't like any of my prototypes.  Another meeting with Amy was needed, so off to Attleboro I headed.  
There Amy and I revisited the library's beautiful open atrium and were inspired.  Instead of banners we saw birds - birds in flight;  garlands of birds, covered in poetry. 

I loved the idea ~ poetry in flight, words take wings.  And I could see how i could incorporate recycled materials and make it easy for anyone to participate.  

working prototype of poetry bird garland

garland as seen from the underneath
The body of the bird is made from cardboard ~ cereal boxes, moving boxes, shoe boxes... then I cover each bird with recycled paper with bl/wht or brown/wht text.  I am using the 'text' from the paper as pattern/texture, not to be readable.  As I make many different birds I am realizing that the sky is the limit  for the different materials we can use on the birds ~ newspapers, magazines, sheet music, brown paper bags, extra tax forms :), blank coloring book pages, old receipts?!?! the list goes on and on.  Each different 'paper' gives each bird a different color, a different look. 

some of the bird forms before the wings are added
I hope to limit the palette of the birds to black, browns, creams, whites and grays, but then I was thinking of using/recycling the endless supply of old phone books, so yellow might sneak in.  Also an art teachers in the Attleboro Public Schools is going to make pieces for the installation based on a poem about gold.  So we might have some gold wings, or such.  So who knows how our flock will end up?!? or how big it will get?! 

I will be leading a workshop at the library next Wed, from 1-3 pm.  During the workshop will will be covering birds and putting poetry on their wings.  Should be much fun & an good activity for April vacation!! Click below for more info :

Interactive Poetry Sculpture Workshop -- Open to all ages!
Also I plan to post a step by step instruction with templates so you can make your own poetry bird which you can send to the library to add to the flock!! What a great way to celebrate National Poetry Month!!

So that is 'bird art project' ONE.  Now for number TWO.

Once again Fountain Street Fine Art is doing their one size, one price show in conjunction with the Fountain Street Open Studios weekend.  This year the size of the panels is 12 x 12.  So each gallery member, and a few lucky others, were supplied with a 12x12 wooden panel on which to create what ever their heart desires.  First I thought, dress, but then I realized that I love doing my line painting/drawings and that this would be a good place/time to exhibit it.  So I started to sketch some ideas on the panel and voila, birds appeared.  So below is the panel in process.  It is due at the gallery this weekend, so it will be done soon!! :)

10 x10 exhibit
Last year Fountain Street Fine Art did a 10x10 show and it was a great success and looked awesome!!! I wish I had bought on of the panels, but they got snatched up quickly.  This year the price for one of the 12 x12 panels is $200!!! So there will be many a good deal to be had.  Show information below.
Fountain Street Open Studio Weekend: 4/27- 4/29
12x12 @ Fountain Street Fine Art : 4/20 - 5/6
Opening reception for 12x12 : 4/27, 5-7pm

So that is a 'brief' review of my 'bird' projects! more to come!! stay tune!! peace, chirp, chirp!!!

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