Creature Feature: Bird

Bird (Tasmanian Gum Tree), 2016
Stainless steel
18” x 7” x 10”

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Bird started out in probably the most unexpected way of any of my latest sculptures. I was on the subway in Japan and saw this poster of the deer: IMG_4219

I loved the simplicity of the form. When I came home, I started making multiple models of a deer inspired by the poster.

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I always make and make (or draw and draw) until I get the right one. I make as many as it takes for me to get that feeling of “this is it!”

Once I thought I had landed on the right one, I packed the model in my checked luggage and headed to my foundry in Spain to translate my paper deer into metal. Once I got to Spain I realized that I would have trouble explaining to my team from my paper model what I wanted the metal to look like so I sat down to remake the deer. I worked for a solid week, making and remaking and ended up with this:


Yes, so not a deer in the end. Once my deer, morphed into a bird, it all came together: the textures and the inspiration.

Early in the year, I traveled to Australia. I already made a mold of a gum tree in Tasmania that I knew I would use on something fantastic when the idea was right:


Australia holds particular fascination for me because it was my first extended experience living in a culture other than my own. I love it that even the mundane of going to the grocery store was new and different and ripe with learning and growing. I especially loved the creatures in Australia. Their birds have a distinct song that is not at all like birds in North America or even Europe. My favorite, the   Kookaburra, sounds like this. I love the Kookaburra and it eventually became my inspiration for Bird.

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After realizing this, the rest came very easily. I made a wax mold of Bird. And then begins the casting. I love this photo because it’s like Bird paper model is watching the Bird metal sculpture being made!


This piece is the only piece that doesn’t have the a highly polished finished on any part of it. To be honest, it makes me a little nervous and that is such nice feature in my other sculptures. Like, Lagartos, Bird also has three textures:  the avocado, the gum tree and the sawed off inside of cut down tree.

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My Bird is brooding, thinking, calculating, and watching. She is strong, yet subtle.

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