I’ve attempted to follow the creative process of a piece from beginning to end — a time or two — but never seem to make it to the end. When I’ve tried to do this before the project has been contrived to demonstrate the process. I’m not sure why I would expect anything but an authentic look at the process to come to a successful end.
One other consideration is that not every piece does get finished. Sometimes the message is lost in the process. Sometimes I lose interest. Sometimes the evolution makes a sharp turn and the finished product has no relation to the beginning of the process.
On this piece, I am well into the development process and have begun to craft the base. I am reasonably sure that this project has a high likelyhood of making to the end.
We all know where my pieces begin — with the story.
When my children were small my wife and I worked opposite shifts to avoid putting our children in daycare. Not seeing Julie for days on end was taxing, but we both enjoyed the alone time that we were able to spend with the girls.
(During this period in our lives I taught during the day while Julie stayed home with the girls. At night we split a full time retail job into 2 part time jobs.)
The girls were homeschooled (unschooled, actually) at the time. Our family shared experiences on weekends, but we both sought out opportunities to share our interest areas with the girls. We planted gardens, made books, sewed, cooked and explored our natural world.
One evening the girls and I visited Crownland Cemetery at dusk. As we were driving through the grounds we noticed the crows we becoming agitated. We followed the sounds and found them in a large tree in the oldest section of the cemetery. They were flying in and out of the treetops making loud warning calls. Other crows were flying from nearby to join the fray.
Suddenly a gret horned owl burst from the treetops and landed, on the ground, near where we were parked. The crows swooped down and relentlessly mobbed the owl. After a few minutes of this the owl silently flew from the cemetery. The few crows that followed quickly dropped off and let the owl fly away.
I had never seen anyhting like it and absolutely blown away. I had a friend who worked at the Indianapolis Zoo. She called a raptor expert that she knew and I soon learned about mobbing behaviors.
From the Bird Ecology Study Group website:
“Many songbirds mob owls when they encounter them during the day roosting in a tree. Most of these mobbing birds are no match for the owls, risking their lives doing so. Yet they continue to mob the latter, chasing them away from their roosting sites. Once mobbing starts, other birds usually join in. Most of the time the owls simply leave without putting up a fight. Too many mobbing birds to deal with? Crows, larger and more aggressive than most songbirds, can be a serious challenge to a lone owl, if there are many of them. Their main aim is to chase the owl away.”
Marcia Bonta, a naturaltist and writer posts on her blog:
According to biologist Bernd Heinrich, who studied mobbing behavior while raising an orphaned great horned owl, birds that are permanent residents of an area, such as the tufted titmouse and chickadees I observed, use mobbing to encourage owls to move on. He further hypothesizes that “since crows have conspicuous roosts to which they return each night, the ‘move-on’ hypothesis should apply especially strongly to them. And, indeed, the vigor of the crows’ mobbing in winter is surpassed by few other birds, even in spring.” Furthermore, after analyzing owl pellets in his woods, he discovered that crows were the principal prey item of great horned owls there.
That’s the story. Tomorrow we’ll visit how and why I want to carve a sculpture remebering this experience.