Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Art of Collaboration

Kimmie here:
I have been lucky enough to work with glass artist Wayne Robbins on several projects in the past, and we're at it again. Wayne has made some bird parts, beaks and eyes, and I will be making them into birds with nests. Wayne's partner Judie Mountain will make the piece into a fabulous necklace. We're hoping to enter the piece into the Bead&Button Show Bead Dreams competition.
The first bird turned out beautifully. Not quite what I want for a necklace, but I think we will be doing lots of these as freestanding sculptures. He's irresistible! I have named him Lew:

 For the next bird, I photographed the process, so you can see a little bit of what goes into a piece like this.
I started with Wayne's beautiful glass pieces, using an epoxy putty to attach them to copper wire. Then I used the putty again to hold the wire in place, with the features where I wanted them:
Ha, looks a little weird! You can see where I used a jewelry saw at the bottom to remove excess putty and wire.
Next, I used bronze wire to make the feet:
I used a file to sharpen the claws, and a coarse brush on my flexshaft tool to clean them up and add some texture:


Then the putty again, to attach the legs to the body. On impulse, I decided this guy should be sitting on the nest, like a swing, rather than inside it. So I sat him down on a little canister to harden:
I made the nest out of bronze wire and a little vintage rotary brush I got from Gail Crosman Moore:

 Here's the bare bird sitting on his nest:
While waiting for the putty to fully cure, I used my wool cards to blend a soft baby-birdish color. I love mixing colors in wool. It's pretty amazing how controllable it is:
Once I had the color right, and the putty cured, I used my trusty needle to felt him into shape. This cunning tool holds a single needle without the necessity of breaking off the tip. I had to order it from England!

Finally, I added just a few bits of feather. To do this, I pulled the tiny tufts apart and used a felting needle to ease them in. One thing that really pleases me about this piece is that the attachment to the nest is quite invisible. Some simple engineering makes sure that the piece will be wearable and balanced when hanging at the bottom of a necklace.

I sent this guy off to Wayne and Judie yesterday. Sure hope they like it!


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