Thursday, July 04, 2013

A Flock of Bird Components for My Jewelry

I'm known for my bird themed jewelry, where each bird is hand-formed individually just as nature would do it. Unfortunately, there's a lot of work involved in sculpting a half inch bird by hand from a pea sized lump of metal clay. That limits the amount of jewelry that I can produce. Many people over the years have suggested that I mold my birds and reproduce them. I've always resisted. Until now.

bird casting trees

Finally, I've realized that I sometimes procrastinate on delicate, fussy work (who, me?!) such as birds. While it's lovely to make exactly the right birds for each piece of jewelry, it is frustrating to have to spend time getting in the flow to be able to easily get the expression that I want for a bird. I did mold a couple of birds and shoot multiple waxes of them in one of my casting classes, which I then assembled into bird trees to mold again later in class. That enables me to easily cast multiples of each of these two.

Bird Teardrop earrings
©2013 Vickie Hallmark

But then I've gone to use them in jewelry and gotten frustrated that I only have a couple of different birds, two different sizes and facing the same direction. I like my earrings to be mirrored, with the birds facing both directions. I've come to a realization.

Spring Flock necklace
©2012 Vickie Hallmark

I need a flock! Big birds and little birds. Perching birds and flying birds. Recognizable wrens and cardinals and hummers, as well as generic birds. Birds from the back and front and side. Matched, mirrored pairs of birds and single birds. Upright birds and horizontal birds. Left wingers and right wingers. A variety, like I would use on my Flock necklaces.
component bird pair

So I've committed time to sitting down with clay and working on just that - a flock of birds to mold and cast so that I always have exactly the bird in the hand that I need. It's time consuming prep, but  of course repetitive work builds skill and the birds get better as I do more. And hopefully (right!), procrastination will recede.