Finally a window of time presented itself and I found myself ready to tackle the assembly of the long awaited Birdbox. First I had to finish chasing the surfaces of the birds and their nest. I used various Dremel attachments to smooth out the remains of the gating attachment points and any surface imperfections on the two bird figures, and then reworked the areas that need to be re-textured. The nest required a bit of extra attention before chasing. I had to remove the bits of mold investment that remained stuck in the tiny deep spaces in the texture of the nest. I happen to have a very nice selection of metal dental tools (thank you, Dr. Seekins!) that were indispensable for that task.
After cleaning and chasing the nest, I drilled a hole in the bottom and epoxied a short length of threaded rod in it. I then made some light surface cuts in the rods protruding from the bottoms of the birds' feet so that the epoxy would adhere to the metal more effectively. I buffed the pieces with a Dremel buffing wheel and then sealed them with statin finish spray lacquer. (I had decided that the natural buffed bronze color would work best with the color of the box.)
The final part of this process was to prepare the box lid for the attachment of the bronze pieces. I used tracing paper to transfer the position of the attachment rods to the box lid from the styrofoam block that I had used to test out the positioning of the pieces. Once I drilled the holes, I attached each bronze piece, one at a time, with epoxy in the appropriate holes, allowing each to set before attaching the next. The finished piece turned out just as I had envisioned it - perhaps I had something to crow about, certainly something to "tweet" over.
After a flurry of work to get my relief sculptures completed for the upcoming 10x10Brunswick show, I decided to look back over some unfinished projects and see if there was something that called out to be completed. Tweet - tweet! Ah, yes...the pod birds!
The pod birds were first mentioned in my blog from 9/1/12. After completing some bronze bugs made from dried pods, I mentioned that there might be some pods made into birds in the future. Well, the future came a couple of months later when I made and cast some bronze birds made from the same type of pods (see my blogs from 10/8/12,11/5/12 and 11/20/12). The birds have been languishing on a shelf waiting for a permanent perch since they were cast. I actually had had something in mind for for them for a while, so it seemed like the perfect time to take the bull by the horns, or the bird by the feathers, and put my thought into action.
A number of years ago I made a wooden box in a Tool Tech (Introduction to Woodshop) class at Maine College of Art in Portland. It, like the birds, had been sitting on a shelf since it was made...a receptacle for miscellaneous stuff and whatnot. I see it every day and every day I'd say to myself - "I'd like to mount a couple of those bronze birds on that box". Well, the time has come to put thoughts into action. After the two birds and their nest have been chased, the next step will be to choose and apply a finish. The final step will be to drill holes in the lid of the box so the birds and their nest can be epoxied in place. Let the fun begin!
The Birdbox is almost a reality ... I'm all "atwittah"!
Cynthia Smith, Maine artist, originally from Connecticut. Taught art at secondary level for 35 years, retired in 2004. Sculpts in bronze, wood, stone, clay & plaster. Her work can be seen at several mid-coast Maine galleries and shows.