The diminutive Goldcrest
Here is my latest bird the Goldcrest, as usual created out of papermache and recycled paper. I loved working on the small detail on the head and wings of this bird, finally bringing it alive with a touch of paint to create the white light in the eye. The paint effect on the frame hopefully highlights and complements the colours of the bird. The frame measures 5” x 5”.
If you have been lucky enough to spot one of these you will understand the excitement generated by this smallest European bird.
Usually identified before sighting by its high pitched song, befitting of it’s diminutive size. Then a flitting from branch to branch activity and a rustling of leaves, alerts your senses even more.
A good pair of binoculars will be of much benefit in this particular instance, as it takes a while to concentrate your eye on this miniature blaze of green and gold colour. Hopefully you will be rewarded with spotting the distinctive orange/yellow crown which can fluff up when displaying to a mate.
There is a similar bird called the Firecrest which has an even more brightly coloured crown than the Goldcrest, but in the UK you are more likely to see the latter. It favours coniferous woods for breeding but wanders widely in winter.
So listen out for a high pitched song next time you are walking in coniferous woods and get your eyes tuned in for a special treat.
Only nature is able to take the most incrugious collection of colours and knit them together in the most harmonious way possible. Orange and blue is not a colour combination that features heavily in my home or even at all actually, even the suggestion seems a little garish in taste.
But the Nuthatch easily carries this combination off in their most beautiful plumage. A palate of creamy orange and pale slate blue arrangement works to stunning effect. Who or what this advantage was designed for we will never know, but the human eye can marvel over it none the less.
When you are next walking around your local wooded park, you may likely see one of these agile birds climbing up or down the bark of a tall tree. They have a way of arching their backs to look up whilst climbing down a tree which is quite distinctive.
The are fond of adopting old woodpecker holes to make their nests in, and will spend quite some time re modelling the front entrance with mud to make it narrower to suit their needs.
About 6 – 8 eggs are then laid by the female and both the parents will feed the young until they fledge at about 24 days. They will then still continue to support the young for about 10 days afterwards.
I love the way this bird has turned out, and with the black band across his eyes reminded of the pop star Adam Ant from the 80′ s. That’s not something that you can say very often.
This bird will be available at our exhibition in the ‘ Crafts in the Pen’ at Skipton Cattle Auction Market on the 21st and 22nd November. Please come and visit us if you can. We would love to meet you.
The Nuthatch photograph at the top of the page is one of David’s and he has started his own photoblog if you would like to check out more of his work please click here
A few weeks ago I was approached by an American lady asking if I could make her the American version of the UK Kingfisher. The Belted Kingfisher is a similar shape to ours but with slate grey markings on its back rather than the azure blue, and a white front and white band around its neck., the name I think must come from the blue or white band around its neck. Other than the different apparent markings, behaviour and habitat of the bird seems pretty similiar to the UK one, living next to rivers and lakes.
I was happy to oblige as I love creating new birds, and the Belted Kingfisher is a stunning one. I chose to make the female, as it is more colourful than the male with rusty markings on its under chest. As I get a lot of viewers to my Etsy shop I wondered if it may be wise to add more US birds in the future, apparently a lot of states have a bird as their emblem.
Although I love the birds I see locally, some of the US birds are truly awesome, the colours are so much more colourful than ours generally I think. But we have enough here to keep me busy, I want to do the green and great spotted woodpeckers next which have lovely plumage.
Anyway all went well, and the Belted Kingfisher is winging its way across the Atlantic Ocean probably as we speak. I will be taking further orders on it in the future, it takes a couple of weeks to make, on and off.
Here are some pics of work in progress and the finished item.
The finished article..
Bird Egg Coasters
I have been busy dreaming up new items to add to my Etsy shop, and realised that a lot of people may not be able to justify buying Art for arts sake.
I know how they feel as I love to buy some beautiful piece of Art work that also has a practical purpose, or useable art.
So I have been adding pieces that feature photographic copies of my originals that can be used for something other that just to be admired, hanging on the wall. David already has a range of mugs with his beautiful images of birds on them, the flying Barn Owl being particularly popular.
New coffee mugs.
I decided what is good for the goose is good for the gander so to speak. So I have done a few coffee mugs and coasters featuring some of my birds, I’m quite pleased the way they have turned out actually. I think the small garden birds look really good!
These are ideal as gifts for a house warming gift or nature lover and completely original. Of course they are also dishwasher proof.
So now you can bring the wildlife into your kitchen every time you enjoy your favourite cuppa. These are £12 + p&p from my online shop. Please click on my Etsy shop at the top of the page to order yours for Xmas.
Happy nature watching!
When we visited Orkney in May/June, we loved the different bird life we saw there, especially the seabirds around the dramatic rocky coastline.
But what we really wanted to see was the Puffins, we had done a little research and it seems these birds liked certain points on the Island more than others. The more windy and exposed the cliffs were the better it seems.
We first went to the Brough of Birsay, we had to wait for the tide to go out before we could walk over the causeway to the small Island. The ancient Viking settlement and graveyard was fascinating to walk around. Due to the safe position overlooking the shore you can see why this spot was chosen in an age where it seems battles were never far away.
Windy and exposed was certainly a feature of this rocky outcrop, where it looks like one side has sunk down whilst the other was jutting up and out into the North Sea. We battled up the hillside against the wind and walked around the top edge of the Island, where apparently the Puffins hang out on the cliff edges. After scanning the cliffs for about an hour we saw… one! Oh and a feral cat, which may or may not be connected.
The next Puffin adventure was to be the northern Island of Westray about an hours ferry ride from the mainland. We set off nice and early and first walked around some of the archaeological sites along the bay, this was brilliant as a team had had just uncovered a stone age well on the beach, still filling with Crystal clear water. Then it was off to see what we had come for, so we hopped back on the bus down to a spot on the coast known for Puffins, by this time it was very windy and starting to rain a little. There were various rocky stacks standing out from the cliff edges, and after binoculars were trained on the right spot, sure enough there were some Puffins. Not lots of them but enough, it was a joyful sight to see their clown like faces and made the weather trying to blow us over seem insignificant. Apparently the best time to see them is early in the morning or evening when the males are leaving or entering the burrow. Also, we were a little early in the month another week or so later and there are more to see, but we were happy we had met the little chappies even if it was through the binoculars.
Puffin – Westray, Orkney
So I have been keen to make my artwork into one of these birds ever since, and at the top of this page is the finished bird, it just needs its little wooden sign on the top to add yet. But I really enjoyed the process particularly the last bit where I added the details on it’s distinctive eye and beak which really brought it alive. It will be on display at a show we are doing at Scorton Village Hall, Lancashire this Sunday 23rd of August. So if you fancy coming along please do, lots of talented artisans will be there. Click here for more information.
Our last fair in Blackburn went quite well, although the rain stopped play for the first half of the day, by 2pm the Sun was shining down and the folks who had previously simply rushed past to get out of the rain now took time to browse and a few more sales were made. The other stalls were of excellent quality and all in all it was a good event with the other attractions in the town centre all adding to the vibrant market feel.
I am doing another one tomorrow Sat 18th July,so if you are in the Blackburn area do come and visit us, I will be sharing my stall with another Artist from Higherford Mill, Wendy Clark Jewellery. She makes the most wonderful silver creations using precious and semi precious stones. Please check her out online https://www.facebook.com/WendyClarkJewellery
I have been busy adding new lines to my Etsy shop, and further working with my tweed look fabric have created more purses, cushions and covered journals. The natural look of the fabric I think complements the country feel of my entire range and of course are decorated with birds, I have added a Wren and I think it looks nice, one of my favourite birds. If you need an unusual gift please check our etsy shop out at the top of the page and international delivery is available at reasonable rates.
Dave is busy processing some pics he has taken recently and I am sure will be updating them soon for your enjoyment, I particularly like some of his recent ones, but you will have to wait and see.
That’s all for now Catherine.
Spent eggs collected at Yesnaby coast, Orkney.
We are hosting our first Arts a Flutter fair this Saturday, 20th June, outside the Town Hall, Blackburn, Lancashire. The event promises to be quite an exciting day and is organised by the local council and titled ‘The Countryside comes to Town’. There will be an animal petting park, street entertainers, craft and food stalls and lots more, if you are in the area it will be worth a visit.
We have been busy preparing our items to sell. Since our visit to Orkney I have been much inspired by the beautiful natural landscape and local wildlife of the area. We were privileged enough to have a Hen Harrier visit our cottage garden whilst there, it was literally feet away.
Hen Harrier and Puffin range.
This majestic bird unfortunately is increasingly rare in most of the UK, it is feared because of persecution by the grouse shooting industry. Unbelievably this bird is quite common there and along with the Puffins and Short Eared Owl we had quite an avian treat.
Tweed puffin purse.
Whilst Dave was clicking away with his camera, my mind was working through new ideas to add to our range of bird themed gifts. Inspired by lots of Tweed fabrics I saw, I decided to combine the bird with the cushion and came up with these, a Puffin and Hen harrier cushion. Whilst working on these it gave me the idea of making the coin purses, I was really happy with these and think they have worked really well. We have got lots of cards and framed pictures and with my collection of 3d pictures we should have a nice collection for our stall. Here is some pics of my new stuff.
New framed copies of originals.
These will all be available in my Etsy shop
Dave’s new framed prints.
All for now, Catherine.