This series of masks are inspired by the years of bird watching I have been doing since moving here to Spirit Hill. I still love the mask form, but the birds seem to be taking center stage, in place of noses, branches of a tree taking the place of the mouth, and so on. What struck me this week as I finished another mask, looking over the ones waiting for firing, that what is really happening here is that I am capturing the birds, but also the watchers.
Cornell University provides a way for people like me to be "citizen scientists," counting birds at our feeders, or wherever, to help them keep track of migrations, and problems in the environment, for birds, and therefore, humans. Every November through April I count the birds at my feeders and record in the data base Cornell provides. It seems this year for the first time in many, I found it hard to make time to do the counts. Art has taken over my life. An open studio every month, coordinating 1st Saturday in Three Rivers, prepping for artshows, and more, interfered more than I'd really like.
But then I looked at the art: birds, birds and more birds. I doubt Cornell would think these masks a substitute, but these birds have all come to and/or flew over my yard, and I only know them because of Cornell's Project Feeder Watch so I have to give them full credit for the inspiration. It all ties together when I sit on Monday night and make the next mask. I do promise Cornell, I will do better when Project Feeder Watch returns next November.
California Quail (artistic license with colors!)
And Raven Again.
Western Bluebird, Great Blue Heron, Great Horned Owl, and Oak Titmouse are waiting in the wings to be fired. Let's hope the Kiln Goddess: A dotted dragon with teeth, protect them and they come out whole and as colorful as I hope. For now, as Marn Reich says, "They are dust held together with the artists imagination." :)
You can email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 559-561-3463 if you feel one of these masks must be yours.