Birds (w.i.p.)

Much to my own amazement I have decided to make another edition of books for the BAO project.  What very much appealed to me about this was that there were 100 titles to choose from although I was not completely sure that we would be permitted to "elect" our own title.  BUT I had already decided that if I was dished out some title or other that I found intolerable for whatever reason then I would not of course go ahead with it.

There are a lot more people involved this time around and one of them is my dear friend Elisabeth Omdahl from Norway - who was one of my earliest friends from the Internet.  The fact that she is participating in the project makes it somehow a lot more appealing to me.
She's an artist I admire and if you look at her work you will understand why.

                                                                               Image on the right: from "Cart before the Horse" Etsy shop

It was in the  Printmakers group  on FLICKR that I first encountered Elisabeth and thats also where I first came across  Amanda Watson-Will  , who, it turned out was also a participating artist,  in the "Art and Lies" edition.

Anyways I thought I would start pulling together  all of the stuff I have been researching on the net.

OK I looked at what other artists had done in terms of making BIRDS related thematic responses in book art format.   Amongst those that I discovered - I didn't come across any that particularly struck me, which is probably just as well.


These images come from a charming pair of artists (Dylan & Jo)  who have a shop on Etsy, which contains lots of contemporary folk art type objects.  There is also a blog which is also interesting to have  a look through ............although to me - they are a little bit twee they are none the less charming and have a certain quality to them.

They remind me somewhat, of an artist called Ilona Niemi who I have known through the Internet for quite a long time too.          

Originally from Finland, Ilona was living/ studying in USA when I first came across her, although she returned to live in Finland with her  her young son and partner.
You can look on her blog too, she posts on there now and again - can't be easy having a young child and trying to carry on making your own artwork.  That's something I didn't think I could do.

OK getting back to the BIRDS stuff

I was looking into Bird as metaphor and so forth as well as Birds in Mythology which appeals to me. Given my ongoing fascination with duality and multiple identity - I was also thinking about conjoined birds and hybrids.

Birds as Metaphor

the responses (below) refer to the use of bird as metaphor in a literary text  - what makes it even more interesting, is that it also refers to book in themselves...........

……………..I think one reason for using bird metaphors to describe books is the idea of the freedom that is symbolised by flight.  Oftentimes, when birds or wings, etc. are introduced in a story, there is some sort of freedom symbolism happening.  
With the opening scene of "Fahrenheit 451," the books are being described as birds flapping in the fire, which is a devastating image if you think of what it implies,  the firemen as doing to freedom.  But it's true for the world of this book:  by burning books, the firemen are essentially burning freedom; they are burning the wings that would allow flight - flight of thought, flight of imagination, of individuality - that books bring to us

found on a website discussing the use of metaphor in popular literature
Posted by eabettencourt on May 28, 2009.

Birds also represent imagination.  They are able to fly to heights and distances lands we may never see since we are limited by our inability to fly as birds do. 

 Books also are able to transport us to other worlds and lands, just by opening the pages and beginning to digest the stories within.  So, by burning the books, they burn not only freedom of thought but also the ability to imagine.  Without digesting new ideas and deciding for ourselves whether or not we agree, ……………by removing the 'books' they take away those possibilities and plunge the  people into intellectual darkness.
Posted by amy-lepore on May 28, 2009.


paper punched bird shapes from maps
 and so forth.............

These are from the Candy shop on Etsy

Nanette Wylde                  At the same time as looking at images - of course I am also looking into materials and techniques as I carry out research for this birds book.                                      I liked the delicacy of these images from this artists book by Nanettte Wylde, whose work I had come across previously because of a book art exhibition she had been in.  I think it is done by a technique  called 'felting'.

Above images that just show
 ways of making images as
in inkjet on calico or is it sacking.
 Also  playing with form
(collage)  using wallpaper
and old books.


21st January 2012

I have been thinking about this project a lot.  When I am going to sleep I am thinking about titles such as Birds and Words ( I know that that is maybe  a bit naff but so far I have been thinking that I would like to interact or intervene the bird form with handwritten text.  I had another look at a book I have by the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, to remind myself as to the ways he plays with language to express particular emotions or states.  'Poetic devices' I think is what this strategy might be termed.  An example is "a heart full of broken wings" - is'nt that a beautiful way to say "sad".
I have done absolutely tons of research - it becomes like a bee in my bonnet and I am like a wee jack russell terrier knawing at a rag.
Here are the directions I have been exploring.   I continue though to seek out  as yet unexplored  tangents.  These are all titles of folders of imagery and text documents. :

text monoprint TEST                     Terazin Camp                  soulcatcher BIRDS

Profile Standing BIRDS                Parfleche                          Mummyfied BIRDS

Long Tailed BIRDS                      Leanora Carrington          BIRDS  Kids art

Character BIRDS                          BIRDS sleeping               BIRDS Inspiration

BIRDS in Flight                            BIRDS being HELD        BIRDS - Ancient Egypt

BIRDS Riders                               BIRDS Masks                  BIRDS Hospital

BIRDS Habitat                              BIRDS Embryo                BIRDS as Headress

disguised BIRDS                          Angel Flying BIRDS


Just came across this verse by the wonderful Emily Dickinson

"If I can stop one heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life the aching
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain"

Delightfully her Complete poems are available -  compliments of Bartleby dot com



I have been doing some technical research which has been tedious and frustrating.  I had the idea that I wanted to make handwriting monotypes to work into with figurative elements of an avian nature but I didn't want to have to write out the text again and again and again.  I knew that I wanted the handwriting to be positive.  To make it negative would have been easy I think I even did some to see how it looked but I wasn't really happy with it.  
I have this rubber stamp making machine which I purchased about 3 years ago and I thought that that would be a way to get the raised text to then roll up with a brayer and offset to acetate, So I started trying to get it to work.  See this link to my main blog Printmaking art to see what I have been up to,  It took place over the period January to the end of March.  there is also a post regarding some text plates I made using zinc steel and aluminium.

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