Behind the Scenes with The Artful Bird
Maura and I are thrilled that artist and seamstress Abby Glassenberg will be our special guest at March 5th's Handmade Crafternoon. She has stopped by Hand-Made to answer a few questions about the books and people who inspire and inform her work.
There's a rich, centuries-long tradition of bird images in art and natural history studies. Are there bird books of the past or present that you consult when you create your bird sculptures?
While I was working on the The Artful Bird, I kept The Sibley Guide to Birds on my desk, along with a whole variety of nature guides. I would fall asleep at night flipping through these books, dreaming about what bird to create next. The huge variety in color, shape and stance of birds sparked my creativity and got me excited to get started sketching and sewing every day.
What bird artists inspire you today?
The four artists that I profile in the gallery section of the book were also tremendously inspirational to me. I love to look at Abigail Brown's birds. Her use of color and thread are amazing. I love her peacock! Ann Wood's owls have tremendous presence. The way she reuses tattered, Victorian era clothing to create truly couture birds is really impressive. I admire the realistic coloration of Jennifer Muskopf's birds. I first encountered Tamar Mogendorff's penguins many years ago at a shop near my house. Her work has served as inspiration for me in my own soft sculpture work ever since.
Tell us a little about the project that we'll make with you on Saturday.
We are going to create little, hand-sewn birds with appliqued feathers. I came up with this project while cleaning up the studio floor. There were all these tiny scraps of beautiful fabric laying around and I just couldn't part with them. This project is a great way to put all those scraps to use! The finished bird can be hung as an ornament, glued to a backdrop for a unique assemblage, or even framed in a shadow box. This is going to be fun!