So today sees the first of the new monthly theme challenges we are running over at Art Elements and this month Cathy chose nests as our inspiration theme. Back when she announced this I had a million and one things in my head that I wanted to do but for some reason none of those came to fruition…funny how creativity works.
The first idea that came into my head was for an abstraction of the theme involving a circular woven piece embellished with feathers and dried botanical matter that would represent the material and method of nest building without being too literal. I did do the woven piece using wire as the warp thread but when It was completed I realised it wasn’t right. Although I liked it as a woven piece it was too heavy and bulky to work with the other lighter material and should have been a much looser and airier base.
In the mean time I had to come up with some other plans and while sat in front of the TV one evening I started doodling some ideas. I’m not much good at drawing and my sketches are usually just ways of getting things out of my head and in this instance a funny little nesting owl appeared.
I wasn’t overly impressed with it but I happened to have a set of watercolour pens with me so I decided to see if a bit of added colour would improve things. She turned out to be a rather flamboyant lady with rather exotic plumage and she kind of captured my heart. I’ve named her Odette which means home lover.
I have a little routine in the morning of making my first coffee and sitting and watching the birds in the garden feed from the filled coconut shells I put out for them. I decided I wanted to capture a lovely little greenfinch that visits each day and the logical move was to move from doodling with pens to doodling with thread. I’m not one of those people who can stitch amazingly realistic critters so I have to do stylised interpretations. I love the work of Matt Sewell who paints beautiful bird illustrations which are accurate in their characteristics but have a lovely playful style. I don’t think my greenfinch is that accurate (especially as females aren’t that green!) but I do love it nonetheless.
My next piece was a bit of challenge and somewhat painful in the making. Whilst rummaging for something in the studio I came across a bag of silk worm cocoons (that I’d had forever and never know what to do with) and it occurred to me that they would make great nests for some tiny little creature…but what? Enter Monty the needle felted mouse. I have never needle felted anything this small…not much more than an inch from nose to tail and I stabbed myself numerous times with the needle. Again, I am completely in awe of artists who make those tiny little felted creatures that look like the real thing and I just can’t do it. But Monty knows he’s a mouse and he’s cosy in his little cocoon nest so that’s all that matters.
Since this challenge falls over Easter and it is spring (not that you know looking at the quagmire in my garden) my last piece was an attempt to make a nest inspired decoration. However I didn’t quite get this one finished. I went back to my idea of decorating with feathers and this time used a willow wreath as the base. Along with the feathers I made some felt eggs and added some dried seed pods…so far so good.
I also made a folk style bird to go on it but I’m not sure whether I like it or not and if not, what to replace it with as it needs something. Anyway, I ran out of time to do anything else which probably means it will be Easter 2019 before it gets finished and displayed – Oh well!
So those are my nest inspired creations and I’d like to thank Cathy for coming up with such a fun theme. We have lots of people taking part in this challenge so please use the links below to see what everyone else had made…I know there will be some great things