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Songbirds

Four more pieces shipping the The Artisan’s Bench tomorrow. These simple pieces look great when combined with others.

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_MG_0014I’ve been stocking The Artisan’s Bench in Brighton, Michigan with a very complete representation of my work. I’ve been sending off groups of pieces as they are finished. The gallery is as enthusiastic as I am about including 50 Little Birds.

The pieces in the photo on the left have arrived at the gallery and are available for purchase.

 

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Trout #1 – Carved fins and tail with a drilled eye.

I’ve been researching historic tin and wood weathervanes to develop wall hanging artwork. The idea is to develop a relatively inexpensive artform that I can produce quickly that features my aesthetic and the same distressed finishing techniques that I use on my carvings.

I’ve experimented with a variety of designs including fox, beaver, chicken and trout. I like working with all, but I am particularly please with my trout.

My bird carvings are breed specific. Each carving is researched and drawn until I develop a paint scheme that clearly identifies the bird as a particular species and gender.

This is not the case with my trout. I have examined a variety of trout photos and historic painted and carved trout. I developed an informal paint scheme — with loads of color and texture — that really pleases me. I really enjoy painting and distressing these.

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Tinplate has become a go-to material for bird wings and tails. It seems a natural fit for these fins.

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Tail Detail 

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Three versions and a sign. I love lettering. I loath fake signs and equate them with fake history….but the urge to letter won out here.

1934722_10153999556151067_1998954743629345634_nI’m not sure what the fox said, but my 4th grade students love it when I ask Siri to tell us.

I’ve a thing for weathervanes. Why wouldn’t I? It’s pretty clear that I am attracted to animal themes, useful objects and patinated surfaces.

I’ve been experimenting with designing cutouts with Adobe Illustrator and printing patterns. Until this project patterns have been hand drawn from sketches and notes. I’m enjoying the flexibility that Illustrator gives me to adjust patterns to any size quickly.

To experiment I’ve made a series of foxes adapted from a 19th century metal weathervane. the pattern is printing — on several sheets — from the computer and glued to cardstock. With this pattern I can plan where the boards will be joined, trace them and cut them out.

_MG_0002Each fox gets the same treatment that I give my birds. The wood is sealed with shellac and several colors of paint are applied. The piece is then distressed — in a number of ways — in a manner that reflects how the piece would really be used and worn. I don’t simply bang on it with keys and round the corners. I give thought to how the piece would hang and how it would be dropped. What parts are vulnerable and what sections are protected. The piece is then finished with another coat of shellac, waxed and buffed.

I made the original to hang on my shed. I’ve several acting as window toppers while they wait for homes.

Available here.

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Click here to watch .

Available here.

Feel the Bird!

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Hand carved house finch on Bernie Sanders sign.

 

I really don’t like to get political with my artwork — but — I could’t pass up an opportunity to acknowledge the female house finch that visited Bernie Sanders at a recent rally in Portland, Oregon.

Available here.

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