Welcome to the weird and hopefully wonderful world of my imagination , jewellery inspired by the animal life around me and the mysteries of history.
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Friday, 7 September 2012

Bird in a bush

An adventure in metalsmithing

For the last few weeks I have been working on a much bigger project than usual, as much as anything to prove to myself that I haven't forgotten all the silversmithing I learned at college all those years ago.
I started with a few doodles which became a plaster maquette made from polyfilla which was all I had to hand.
 This is the plaster bird without it's beak I had to cut it off as it was getting in the way when I was fitting the brass bottom bowl up against it to check for size.
Having carved the  bird I cut a circle out of brass and started hammering it to shape..............
I dont have any proper stakes and had to nip out to B & Q for a substitute raising hammer as the one I bought years ago has disappeared.So armed with my small cross pein hammer and a variety of doming punches I began , here follows for those of you interested some photos of the results of the process of raising and forming follow in order. Click on the photos to see them larger.
This is the basic raising for the underside of my bird.
Then refining the shape, narrowing the base and making the bowl deeper
Then I formed the neck and underneath of the tail, followed by a spot of planishing to smooth the finish
The top of the bird, basic forming done by hammering into a lead block, two flaps pulled round to encircle the beak
The two parts fitted together and feathery bits cut out
The beak made from copper is inserted to try the fit and more feather shapes cut in the upper tail
At this point my camera battery ran out, I couldn't find the battery charger and for some reason it didn't occur to me to use my other camera......so I'm afraid how I did the legs, eyes, ears,wings and extra bits of tail I will leave to your imagination. And, eh voila.... here is my little bird all assembled and standing on his wooden perch.
I'm not sure what kind of a bird it is , a finch perhaps, I think they can have quite chunky beaks.
I really enjoyed the challenge of making this and am I have to admit quite pleased with the finished article. What do you think of my LBJ? (bird watching term for unidentified small plain bird)


  1. What do I think? I think it is an amazing creature from a very good fantasy book. I haven't decided from which one, but I have never seen anything of that sort so obviously it is from a different realm. Seriously, I have difficulties finding the right words. Calling it 'pretty' or 'cute' would be a profanation. It is truly beautiful, though in a somewhat grotesque way. I hope to see more pictures - good and large pictures, please.

    I am afraid you will get tired of my magnanimous praises, even though I try to be reserved. But I really love what you do. As a daughter and granddaughter of artists and designers, I am not that easy to impress. World is full of amateurishly made items (in the bad sense of the word), and yours are both expertly made and have a character and soul.

    When you get tired of me, just tell me to disappear :) I will become silent for a while.

  2. I took these pictures of the finished bird in a huury late at night the day before sending it off to uor local museum to be entered in the local art and craft exhibition, which I am pleased to say it has been accepted. I'll add some pictures of the flowers etc around the base next week

  3. Congratulations! I would like to see more pictures, the bird is amazing. I love it from beak to the paws.

  4. Well, congratulations again Mandy. The illustrations of all the intricate and exacting - and painstaking - work that goes on!!!!!!!Words fail. I just love this little, finely detailed bird.