My work talks to me.
And when I begin a piece, I don't always know what it will become. But I usually start out with a few key elements.
For this block, those key elements included snow, the bare tree, and...
I even left space for it...
For the past six months or so, I have heard the hoot of the Great Horned Owl in the woods behind my home.
And this past January, I was struck by the stories in the news of the mass Snowy Owl migration.
Evidently, great numbers of snowy owls have migrated into the northern regions of the United States...
I was amazed by the beauty of these animals and intrigued by the mystery of their appearance.
How better to mark this amazing migration and my new relationship with the nocturnal harbingers in my woods...than by placing one in the tree on my block.
My owl isn't any one species. In fact, I started with a picture of a Barred Owl...and traced it's main features and then reduced it to about 1"...
Recycled and felted wool sweaters formed the main body and wings of my friend. I liked the texture that the sweaters give to the bird, allowing me to sculpt it a bit with my needle...similar to needle felting.
That being said, I did not want the stitches to sink into the face of the owl, so I placed a little mask of fusible interfacing to hold the stitches in place. (It's hard to see in the picture, but it's there.)
I had also had some of these barred feathers from my trip to the fishing tackle store, and they just said "owl" to me.
You can see how fluffy my owl started out before it migrated to its true self...
For some reason, it liked the use of the feathers...and became less of a specific owl...and more of shaman-like owl...
A spiritual messenger, a symbol of wisdom and inner-knowing.
In ancient Hindu, Celtic and Egyptian cultures, the owl was symbolic of the keeper of the underworld...a seer of souls, able to connect this life and the next...the keeper of spirits and of secret knowledge.
A quick list of owl symbolic meanings:
Today, I'm off to be a docent for the Japanese Embroidery Serenity in Silk: World of Nuido Collection at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. which runs through April 2, 2012. (And I am allowed to take pictures!)
I'll share more tomorrow.
Happy Monday everyone!