Posted in Art Shows, tagged bird, Birding, bloomingotn, carving, DIY, Folk, folk art, folkart, Handmade, Noblesville, sculpture, tradition, traditional art, woodcarving on April 5, 2012 |
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I love this show and the fine women that run it, but it didn’t look like I was going to be able to participate this year.
Good news–Circumstances have shifted a bit and 50 Little Birds will be on hand. We are a late entry so please do what you can to let the folks of Bloomington know the birds will be on hand!
Bloomington Handmade Market
Bloomington Convention Center
Saturday, April 7, 2012
10:00 – 5:00
Thanks to Sally, Nicole, Mia and Jessica!
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Posted in Art Shows, Indiana Artisans, tagged art, Art Show, bird, Birding, carving, craft, craft Show, Folk, folk art, folkart, Indiana, indiana state fair, Indianapolis, Kentucky, traditional arts, woodcarving, woodworking on March 30, 2012 |
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I’ve been absent from keeping up this blog over the last week and apologize. I’ve been preparing for the Indiana Artisan Marketplace beginning in just a few hours at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. I can’t take a lot of time for build-up, but this is the finest art/fine craft show that I’ve ever been involved with — as an artist or as a buyer. This is not a show to be missed.
(Aside – This group really treats their artists right. We pulled up the van yesterday and a volunteer loaded my stuff in for me!)
I’ll try to post images throughout the show from my iPhone. If I am able to move around (I expect to be busy) I will try to share the work of other artists.
50 Little Birds has two booths this year — I hope that I am the plate spinner that I think I am — one will be my sales booth and a second bootht o teach and demonstrate bird carving and painting. Please stop and chat a bit.
I would like to thank friend and woodcarver, Dennis Maddox, of Noblesville for his help yesterday. There were a few construction glitches and he was the man to solve the problems fast. Dennis has been carving at local golf coaurses. It seems that golf course like to turn their dead trees into large carvings. Recently Dennis carved a huge golf club for Crooked Stick Golf Course and a trio of Great Blue Heron for the golf course at Eagle Creek Park.
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Posted in New Work, tagged art, bird, carving, craft, Folk, folk art, folkart, Indiana, Indianapolis, oriole baltimore maryland. steampunk, woodcarving on March 14, 2012 |
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Oranges are one of the favorite foods of the Baltimore Oriole. I find the bird and orange visually appealing because they are the same color! (The orange and black contrast of this oriole is striking, even without the fruit.)
The base is constructed of found wood — from an old painted sign that I dragged from the wreckage of a burned-out Victorian grocery — and a croquet ball sporting its original orange paint.
This piece will be available at the Indiana Artisan Marketplace.
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Posted in Birds and Their Stories, tagged art, bird, Birding, carving, chickadee, cormorant, craft, crow, Folk, Indiana, jay, kingfisher, maine, Noblesville, osprey, owl, woodcarving on March 1, 2012 |
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I was interviewed yesterday for an article in Travel Indiana Magazine. I like interviews. I like talking about my work, inspirations and my creative process. (That’s why I have this blog.)
There are two questions, that I’m asked a lot, that cause me problems-
- How long does it take to make a bird ?
- What’s your favorite _______?
The first question is no longered answered. Ever.
My projects begin with field work and book research and end with a painted and mounted bird. Sometimes there are many steps and sketches and patterns and trials. Sometimes I sit down and knock it out in a few hours. In some cases, like the skin-on-frame cardinal, this process took years. How long is difficult to quantify in a way that is meaningful.
When folks get an idea of the time involved in producing a piece they begin to calculate the figure in terms of profit and wages. Without understanding the lifetime of acquiring a specialized skill set, maintaining a studio, building show displays, research, travel, lodging, meals, printing, bank fees and taxes it is impossible to understand and interpret the time/wages/profit relationship. Folks still try so I don’t supply the numbers.
Quick aside – My wife recently had many serious eye surgeries (She’s better, thanks.) and spent five or six hours under the knife. It would be crazy for me to think I could figure out how much the doctor made each hour.
Learn more about this here.
I’ve no logical or ethical reason for disliking the second question. It’s just hard for me to answer.
I don’t pick absolute favorites.
I don’t have a favorite movie. I don’t have a favorite book. I don’t have a favorite song. I don’t even have a favorite ukulele.
My interests change with my projects. My interests change with my research. My interests change with need.
My favorites are lists.
Yesterday I was asked what my favorite bird was. I gave an answer, but not just one, because it was expected — the common crow and the belted kingfisher.
I present here a list of favorite birds. It’s in no particular ranking and birds may move on and off the list as my projects and experiences evolve.
- Common Crow – This is a sound memory. My happiest moments of childhood — foggy Maine mornings — include a soundtrack of crow calls. Once I was touring a college campus with my family. My wife turned and found I was gone and asked the group if they had seen me. One observant woman reported that I had wondered off talking to the crows.
- Belted Kingfisher – A wonderful, resourceful, chattering clown. this bird did play a minor role in my Maine summers, but moved onto the favorites list when I observed one outwit an attacking Cooper’s hawk. The bird nests in long underground tunnels. Pretty cool!
- Blue Jays – I’ve a love hate relationship with blue jays. Every time I hear one I am returned to my grandparents’ wooded Philadelphia yard — another favorite childhood place. One a couple of occassions I’ve witnessed blue jays killing other birds for no apparent reason — once dropping from a tree onto a boat I was building. A few years ago I could not spot a blue jay. This went on for months. I heard them, but never saw one. I’ve added peanuts to my feeders and now have loud daily visits.
- Baltimore Orioles – This is about aesthetics. I’ve few early memories of orioles. They are pretty. I’ve always like black and orange and it all comes together on the oriole in grand style. I’ve not seen an oriole nest, but if I do it’ll be another reason to love them.
- Red Winged Blackbird – These guys let me know that spring is here. Like the oriole, I love the red winged blackbirds’ colors — black, red and yellow.
- Penguins – I don’t know much about penguins. I’m not driven to learn more. But, boy are they cute! I loved watching the penguins at the old Indianapolis Zoo in Washington park.
- Bufflehead Ducks – Many years ago my step-daughter gave me a gift certificate at a local woodworking retailer. On a complete whim I purchased Antique-Style Duck Decoys: Contemporary Techniques to Carve and Paint in the Folk Art Tradition by Tom Matus. This book may be the reason I eventually began to carve birds and is without a dount my inspiration for distressing my birds. I was hooked on waterfowl and began to haunt areas I thought should be full of migrating waterfowl. I never found anything but cold and wet grass. Last year I was driving by a modern suburban neighborhood and spotted some tiny ducks. I stopped the car and identified a pair of bufflehead and a pair of redheads. These were my first really good ducks! I’ve since learned where to look and see great ducks every week. This week I’ve seen goldeneyes, buffleheads, redheads and hooded mergansers.
- Chickadees – I remember a tiny window feeder in my boyhood bedroom. From my bed I could see chickadees visiting, taking one seed, flying away to eat and returning for the next. It’s probably the first time I learned a specific bird feeding behavior. I love their friendly call, ” chick-a-dee-dee-dee!” It wasn’t until a few years a go I learned that my Indiana chickadees weren’t the same as my Maine chickadees. In central Indiana we’ve Carolina chickadees. Maine has black-capped.
- Double Crested Cormorant – From our Maine front porch we’d watch these sleek black birds fish. They stayed under for, what seemed, an eternity and swam several dozen feet. On take off they beat their wingtips on the water leaving a traing of concentric circles on the surface. I was taken completely by surprise the first time I saw one in Indiana. I was canoeing tiny Cicero Creek below Morse Reservoir in Noblesville when one surface adjacent to the canoe. I’m not sure which of us was most surprised!
- Osprey – Another Maine regular. When I was young most osprey were gone from the Maine waterfront. When DDT was banned and it worked its way out of the foodchain osprey made a speedy recovery. From our front porch you could watch three nests. Their calls were heard all day. It was hard to believe that they had ever been rare. I see them regularly when canoeing White River in Hamilton County.
This really just scratched the surface. I could name another ten with no problem. heck I could name ten waterfowl or passerines!
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Posted in Art Shows, tagged art, art education, artisan, bird, Birding, carving, fine art, foik, folk art, folkart, Indiana, Indianapolis, marketing, Noblesville, sales, shop, show, wood, woodcarving, woodworking on February 23, 2012 |
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I’ve shared before that I am thrilled to be involved with what Io consider the most significant traditional arts and food event in Indianapolis, if not the Midwest, the Indiana Artisan Marketplace.
This is a classy show and demands classy display. Last year I designed a portable gallery space with floor covering, bright lights, sales counter and storage. It is a beautiful booth and I love to use it to show my work.
With that finished I thought I was off the hook for heavy duty building and planning for this year’s event. That changed when I learned earlier today that I am slated to demonstrate my work at this year’s event. This is a good thing — a wonderful thing! I’m a life-long educator and there is no better way for me to talk about my work than to teach folks how it’s done.
For demonstration space I’ve awarded a 10′ x 10′ space adjacent to my booth. This demonstration areas are well placed and ensure that my booth is well placed. The challaenge now is to design this space to maximize visibility, teaching potential and to drive sales.
This means I need work space, signage to interpret what I am doing and another person (or two or three) all weekend so that I can serve my customers in both locations.
I’m really looking forward to doing this.
I need some input. What would you like to see me do? Build a skin-on-frame bird? Carve and paint many typical forms? Begin projects from reference photos and drawings and complete carvings? Put wood and knives in hands and teach carving?
I have the ability to move the majority of my woodshop to shows. I developed tools storage and folding benches when I used to build ukuleles on site.
Please share your thoughts!
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