“If I Had Wings….” May 8, 2013
The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.
-Tenzin Gyatso (14th Dalai Lama of Tibet)
It is a sunny morning on the North Carolina coast. I hear the sound of the ocean and I hear birds. Birds chirping, birds peeping, birds trilling, birds squawking–Birds just generally communicating in all sorts of ways. The waves crash and the birds sing. Monday afternoon when I arrived, it seemed that all the pelicans on the east coast were flying overhead. I like to think it was in welcome, but know more surely that there must have been good fishing somewhere close by.
I came here to rest after a hectic spring full of residencies all over North Carolina, installations and a few shows. It has been a very busy year and I am fortunate.
This morning when I went down to take the first load of stuff to my car, I saw a red cardinal on a top of a telephone pole at the edge at the parking lot. Right now the mocking birds are fighting the grackles at the bird feeders below. Crows and black-headed gulls are flying reconnaissance and small long-legged seabirds are running in and out of the surf.
Why do we watch birds? For solace? Out of curiosity? For sheer delight?
I think one of the reasons that I watch them is because they offer a window into another world where politics has no meaning.
For the past few years I have been making the birds I see out of stuff that I find. Ironically, many of these birds are filled with ubiquitous single-use plastic bags. Next they are wrapped with scraps of cloth and string and finally bits of found plastic or twigs or bark or feathers or whatever might bring the bird to life. To me they are meditations on the natural world. Making them brings me some of the same peace I find in observation of wild things. Solace, back to solace. And joy.
Currently my birds are on display at Bull City Arts Collaborative in Durham NC. My show “If I Had Wings….” is open until May 26.
Here is the statement for that show:
If I Had Wings…..
Whoever we are, wherever we live—birds are wild and all around us. Pigeons and red-tail hawks inhabit New York City. Crows are everywhere. Can we live among wild things and not dream of their wildness, their ability to fly above us and live beside us in places we do not know? Like many who live in an urban neighborhood full of trees, I feed the backyard birds. Daily I watch red cardinals and black, white and grey chickadees as they gather on my birdfeeder with sparrows and wrens. On the ground are pigeons and juncos and an occasional rufous-sided towhee scratching for fallen seeds. Most mornings when I open my front door to empty the trash or go to my studio, I hear the crows calling from far above. As I write this I watch a female cardinal with a bright orange beak and subtle green and brown feathers forage for seeds on the Rose of Sharon bush outside my office window. I watch the birds and I wish I could fly……….
My birds can be seen at Bull City Arts Collaborative in Durham, NC until May 26.
More birds and animals can be seen at Blue Spiral 1 in Asheville NC.
Or to learn more about my wild animals check out Danielle Maestretti’s blog post about them for the American Crafts Council.