I knew that my time spent in studio today was important. I was to complete my 200th bird carving. Considering that the series was supposed to run for 50 birds, I’m pretty pleased. 200 pieces is not a major body of work, but it is significant.
The piece I chose to carve for the number 200 spot was a pileated woodpecker. These massive (16+ inches tall) woodpeckers fly through the thick canopy of the forest. Their even larger shadows follow throw the cover. They have a cry that can be compared to a sterotypical monkey’s call. It’s loud and can be heard over great distances. They are very similar (by not as big) as the ivory billed woodpecker. Their association with this (maybe) extinct and legendary bird makes it so much more impressive.
When time allows (ie. when school is not in session and I’m not teaching) I bird daily. It’s an important — essential — part of developing my carvings. On Friday (The day I began to carve this bird) paleated woodpeckers played a major part of my bird walk through the Blatchley Nature Study Club here in Noblesville. During the entire walk their presence was known. I saw a large male working around the top of a massive tree. Their calls were heard during the entire walk. Their giant shadows blotted out the light as they screamed thought the treetops.
It was clear that this was the bird to carve.
I finished today and was more pleased than usual. I’m making a big push to keep my Etsy site fresh so when I finished it this afternoon I photographed it and posted it right away.
I took a quick trip to my nature club (There are such things) and upon return found it sold — in under one hour. It was purchased by one of my favorite patrons. This gentleman (He really is.) is a VP for a major clothing label and is putting together a great folk art collection. I am blessed that he loves my work.
I am thrilled to have sold this piece to someone for whom I have so much respect, but I was going to try to get some mileage out of carving No. 200. Perhaps No. 201 will have the same impact.
This week? Maybe another pileated woodpecker.