Earlier this week I began drawing chickens. This is nothing new. I’ve kept chickens for over 20 yrs. and they often on my mind.
I usually try to simplify bird forms into overlapping and connected circles and curves. It was soon clear that chickens have a complex (to carve) body shape that can be loosely defined by two lose circles (or spheres in the carving).
I filled a few pages of my sketch book before I stumbled across a piece that was sold at a Wes Cowan Auction last October. I didn’t examine it closely. I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do and had no desire to copy the original. (Unfortunately I cannot share a photo of the auction piece here. I urge you to look at the link. It’s a great piece.)
Saturday I spent the morning putting the shop into order. I had been building bookcases and cabinets. This kind of work puts me in a mindset quite different than carving. It’s very difficult to get back to carving without a thorough housecleaning.
I joined my family for lunch and began drawing on the paper table cover. I was working on increasing the size of the drawings to carving size and keeping the proportions correct. After lunch I cut a section from the paper and headed back to the shop to begin carving.
Between lunch and the shop I ducked into one of the neighborhood antique stores to find a box that could be adapted to create a nesting box. I found an oversized cheese box and the ends of an old knocked down Diamond Match crate. (It’s hard to imagine a time when matches were shipped in crates!)
Saturday afternoon I designed, carved and sanded the first two hens. I also cut and installed dividers into the cheese box to create three nest spaces.
After a big family Sunday breakfast I got back to work and carved the remaining three birds. I was able to treat each bird in a different manner to add interest to the piece. Two birds have their heads turned and another has his neck extended.
After sanded each of their heads were slit and a comb, made from a piece of my business card, was glued and inserted. Eyes, like all of my recent birds are represented by a copper river with a tiny brass washer around it.
Each bird was painted, in my usual manner, and the piece was assembled.
We had a board meeting tonight. I was able to work about twenty minutes as folks arrived and I began the distressing process. Tomorrow night I suspect that I will be able to complete this piece.
If you are interested in purchasing this piece, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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