Monday, February 15, 2010

Making Birds

I love making these little birds. So I thought I might just show you how they are made.





They start out as lumps of clay. See those out of focus pieces there in the back? I squish the clay into something that has a vaguely bird like shape. These little pre-birds get set aside for an hour or two, until the wet squishy clay sets up a bit.



Then I use modeling tools to shape the wings and make then stand out a bit from the body of the bird. Oh and I give them eyes. Because I think they'd look a bit funny without them and it helps you tell the beak from the ....., well, other end.


Holes get poked through the body with a needle tool and then this hole gets drilled out and enlarged with a tiny drill bit. You don't get to see the drill because I forgot to take a picture of it.



These birds then get set aside, usually over night until they are bone dry. But I confess, that sometimes, I am impatient. In those cases, the birds get put in a cold oven, heated to 170F, and held for 20 minutes. Hey, I can't make cookies, but I bake a mean bird.



Once the birds are dry, I sponge them until they are nice and smooth all over and all the nasty rough edges are gone.



These little birds are all ready to take their first trip to the kiln. I love seeing them all lined up like this. My little flock.



I started making these birds last November for personal reasons. They became like little talismen and I have one in particular that isn't a bead. It's just a bird that I sometimes hold in my hand just because it feels nice. Several of you who have these birds have mentioned how you like to touch them or just hold them. You know, that makes me happy. It's like getting a little hug. Thank you!



18 comments:

lunedreams said...

wow, you do them freehand! they're so consistent! sweet little things! I love very minimalist renderings of animals. they're like line drawings.

Peridots Garden Blog said...

Thank you for sharing your artistic process! So interesting!

I especially love the photo of all your little birds on the tray...there is something very soothing visually about that photo.


Thanks again!

Sandy

sundownbeaddesigns said...

Thanks for the view inside the studio. I love to see how others work and the little birds are so cute!

Kirsten said...

They're adorable....great to see how you create them Leann!!

sharon said...

Amazing LeAnn! And I have to give you credit for having that kind of patience! There is a melodic and rhythmic soothing sensation to make things over and over, I however very rarely have the patience. I can watch this over and over, as long as you are doing it, it is mesmerizing!

mairedodd said...

how great was this post? loved it! and i adore your birds - they are just so wonderful... you really have this down - and as much as they are similar - they are all different...

Judy said...

I just had to have one...a little birdie that is! Just placed my order, can't wait to see this little guy in person.

kelleysbeads said...

Yay, thank you for sharing a step-by-step pictorial of how you make these little birds. I LOVE them!

stregata said...

Your little birds are soooo lovely and I cherish mine! Thanks for sharing how they come to "life".
Wishing you a very lovely week and sending hugs!

Cindy said...

Hi LeAnn...your little birds are so gosh darn cute! Can't wait to receive mine. :-)
Cindy

sasha and max said...

I just got mine in the post LeAnn - they are so beautiful that I am reluctant to let them go ! Thanks so much for showing us how you make them - you are a very talented artist.

Melinda Orr said...

Too cute! I love the birdies! It's always fun to see how others attempt things...I just make it up as I go! I have a wood stove in my studio and that's where I quick dry most of my pendants...in the summer I use a heating tray! Just have to turn them half way through! Thanks for sharing!
Melinda

Rosanne said...

As an owner of the little tweeties I can tell ya they are great! I love the coral ones. Just the right size too.

Silver Parrot said...

I love the birds! I was just looking at mine over the weekend and thinking up ideas for them!

Alice said...

Very sweet! I love seeing the process of how these little darlings were created!

UberArt and Emerson Bindery said...

I love those little birds! Great work!

Barbara said...

I love seeing your process, LeAnn. I especially like the coral color of these birds.

TerriK said...

Beautiful birdies!!