Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Grackle or Boat-tailed blackbird

 I am making a new bird-a grackle. They are one of my favorite birds. I study their behavior because in the spring and summer, we host many families of them at our feeder, which is right outside my studio windows. The parent birds feed the babies suet, then when the babies are bigger, they feed themselves.
 These birds are far from being plain. Their beautiful jet black feathers are bronze and purple and sapphire in the light. I've tried to capture that with stitching. I am lucky to have a nice stash of old thread that I bought on eBay. The colors are better when they are old. Some of the fibers are too soft to use in a machine, but hand sewing works, and I use regular sewing threads as embroidery threads, if the color is right. Here I have deconstructed some bronze fabric for his head, and used some very old thread for the blue highlights.
 This is an old bird, I have decided. There's an old look in his eyes. Also his feet are a bit arthritic looking. I made the feet by winding wire in the shape I wanted, then over that I wound floral tape-black. Over that, I wound black embroidery thread.
He is close to life size. Now-just the wings must be added. I have constructed him in my usual manner-bags and tape, then a layer of muslin over the bags. He has a beautiful black velvet body which used to be a black velvet dress. I am always looking for vintage material for my birds. I don't like using stretchy velvet.

1 comment:

Debbie Nolan said...

Debra - your Grackle is gorgeous. We have starlings here in the spring and I sometimes get them mixed up with the grackles. Their colors are lovely too in the sunlight. Love the idea of it being done in vintage fabric. How awesome dear friend.