Quiet As a Bird

I found this dead bird the other day and couldn't resist picking him (don't know the gender, thought of him as a he) up to draw in the park. It was the most surreal moment. I had been sketching ideas for a bird pendant as I have been feeling very 'fertile' lately and wanted to do a piece with eggs. I had been thinking about ways to research birds as they are hard to view in the wild, when I saw this bird lying next to Brampton City Hall. It had obviously died recently and I pondered whether it was just knocked out. But I could feel through my gloves that his neck was broken from hitting the window I assume.

I instantly thought of my jewellery artist friend from my BA at OCAD Annie Tung, because I saw her learning taxidermy on her facebook page. You can see her latest piece on her website http://www.shesmiledandran.com/ . I also thought of Julia DeVille http://juliadeville.com/ a jewellery artist I interviewed during my MA in Birmingham UK. She does beautiful work, also with dead animals, and I loved the idea I got from her, that when she taxidermy's an animal it's like bringing it back to life.

Personally, I am not at the stage, or place in my life where I could or would want to literally take the body of this bird and cut, or use it in my art. I thought about it, but I would rather just study it. Even placing it in a box till I got to the park made me feel guilty. And this blue jay kept coming by and yelling loudly and I couldn't help but feel he was calling to his friends saying, 'an evil human has got one of our deceased!'

I got over that and drew him and gently handled him. First with gloves, then I got bold and held him in my bare hands. I couldn't help but feel like my interest in eggs, fertility, birth and death were all connected, and I started to think that maybe I wanted to come to terms with my own mortality before having children. Or maybe when
you have children you do look at your own mortality, because it is inevitable that they will live longer than you, if they live to be your age.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy my drawings and photos. As you can see I returned him to the earth and thanked him (or her) in my mind for the time I had with him.

I did some research and thought he was a warbler and have since found out from Ken Vickerson a jeweller and Professor at OCAD http://www.metalartsguild.ca/profile/KenVickerson that he is a Golden Crowned Kinglet, which he believes is a type of warbler. He also informed me of FLAP (Fatal Light Awareness Program) a volunteer group who among other things lobbies owners of office towers to turn off their lights during bird migration seasons as the lighted office towers lure the unsuspecting migrating birds to collide with the buildings downtown. Very interesting group you can look at here and donate if you like. http://www.flap.org/

I am going to continue my research into birds and fertility and hope to incorporate it in my work.
Enjoy, if you have any interest or ideas on my process or my thoughts, feel free to comment. :)


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