As I have mentioned before in this blog, my wife Jeanine collects folk art carved birds. Our kitchen is full of them. I miss them when we are away.
Birds, for the most part are a pleasant and relaxing part of our natural environment. Except of course when they are dive bombing you for being too close to their nest, and then they’re not so relaxing. Otherwise, we enjoy watching them fly, and chirp, and hop around the back yard looking for bugs. They are entertaining. I suggest that this is the reason that it is one of the most commonly carved species, and often the first carving an artist will undertake. Birds makes for an interesting collection because there are so many approaches and attitudes to the subject. Some strive for accuracy. Others a stylized approach. Some are abstracted, while others are barely recognizable. I tend to admire skill and craftsmanship, but it’s the crazy and primitive ones that turn my crank. After my morning coffee I took a look around the room and photographed a few of my favourites . With some little notations attached.
I hope that you enjoy looking at them. I do. Every morning.
Jeanine is keen on finding more of these little carved sparrows. We may because I have the feeling that these although hand carved, were commercially produced and sold in gift shops. Perhaps a little cottage industry item from Eastern Canada, where we found them. Or even possibly overseas. If so, I would think Europe or England as opposed to Asian.
This Cote red-winged blackbird is typical of the Gaspe artist. I will make him the subject of a future blog, but for now suffice to say that his work is easy to recognize because he used pencil crayons for colour and then lacquered over top, and even when a piece doesn’t have his decal, you can tell it is him by the form, colour, and little wire legs.
Here’s a new addition to the family. this friendly little Carolina Wren was created by C. Bodley of Toronto. He was good enough to name and sign it on the bottom. It’s a good example of a work that looks like the species, but also contains personality. He also created this wonderful diminutive owl
What follows is a bunch of little birds with different approaches, by different artists at different times. Most of them are from Quebec. You can see run the gamut in terms of approach. Although it is perhaps the piece that looks the least like an actual bird, I love the little beige bird by Cadieux. His name is stamped on the bottom. I also love the little blue bird which looks almost like a cartoon. it is made very carefully. Those wings are thin wood, not metal.
Which one of these do you like the most?
Someone even decided to make a little bird using wicker. This little fellow somehow comes across as looking quite mad. And last but not least we have this hanging black and white bird on a perch. Interesting construction, and can anyone figure out why his wings are on backwards? Could this really be intentional? Perhaps dyslectic? Go figure.
I have been carving various little birds for over thirty years. I find there are fun to make, it’s almost soothing. It’s nice to see someone who enjoys the finished project for the simple pleasure of what it is. I have my own version of the flying swallows that I just can’t seem to make enough of.