If You can See It

One of my creative passions is sculpture.  I love to make 3 dimensional shapes. Doesn’t matter if it is yarn, clay, wood, wire, paper mache’, polymer clay, or some random combination of all/some of those.  Visual inspiration for my sculptures can come from anywhere.

Like this lovely little blue glass bird that I inherited from my maternal grandmother’s estate. I had always adored it as a little girl.  

My grandmother was a formidable woman, tiny, but intense.  She owned an antique shop that was housed in 3 buildings on her farm.  The buildings were large and primarily filled with furniture. 

Staying at her house was always interesting. The interior of her house was filled with lovely glass, crystal, artwork and antique furniture. It was a bit like being in a museum.  A museum where you are not allowed to touch anything.

But for some reason I was allowed to carry this little bird around. There was something about the weight and fit of it in my hand that gave me, and still gives me great happiness.

For my recent bird house art project I decided I would use it as inspiration for a bird to live in my bird house. I didn’t have a pattern for making the bird and knew I needed to work quickly because the deadline for the bird house to be delivered was coming up quickly.

It was time to brush up on my sculpting skills. Back in my first highschool ceramic sculpture class my teacher said, “If you can see the object you want to sculpt, you can sculpt it.”  At the time I thought she was a bit nuts, but I soon understood what she meant.

You have to see the shapes that make up the overall shape of the object you want to replicate.

For this bird the overall shape is that of a sphere with a smaller half sphere on top and a flattened cone for the tail, there are also small bumps on either side of the bird that hint at wings.

Circles, balls and tubes are some of my favorite shapes to play with in crochet. Crochet also lends itself to modifications on the fly, so I could change shapes easily as needed.

I knew that making my little bird would start with a simple circle using increases and decreases to create the main body and head. I also knew I would be embroidering eyes and beak as separate elements and crocheting the wings to be sewn on after the body was finished.

I crocheted my bird from fingering weight wool yarn to keep him small and have more shaping options. I started at the top of his head. After I had worked a few rounds to shape the head, I embroidered the eyes and beak. The beak was a combination of crochet and embroidery using #3 crochet thread.  Once the details for the face were embroidered I continued with the body of  the bird. 

I stuffed the bird as I worked to check the shaping, and would pull out enough stuffing to continue working.  After completing the last round for the body I closed the seam on the bottom with a whipstitch.

I decided to create the tail shaping by crocheting into the finished body using a couple of cluster stitches.

The finished bird is quite a bit different from my original inspiration, but the feel and shaping is close enough that I was quite happy.

So your turn dear readers, find something in your environs to inspire you and create. Remember, if you can see it….

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