Friday, 17 July 2009



This is the piece I've been working on for some time, but I couldn't show you before because it's part of the new Awfully Big Art Adventure challenge to do a bird related piece. Years ago I bought this birdcage in a hardware store, and have been waiting for inspiration to strike ever since. It's original colour was a rather nasty attempt at verdigris, so I spray painted it cream.


I antiqued it a little using brown chalk inks, and added a few gold highlights. I also made a template for the base which I covered in cream and gold paper. The nest with the eggs in the base was an Etsy purchase, which I absolutely love, and is completely made of felt. I wanted ivy to trail artistically down the cage, and it took me a long time to figure out how to do this.

I found an ivy leaf image on the internet and pasted it into a Word document, making different sizes of leaf. Then I backed each sheet with dark green card, cutting out each individual leaf, rubbing dark green chalk ink along the edge to get rid of the white paper edge. I wanted to seal the leaves so each side got a coat of Mod Podge. You're beginning to see why this project took so long aren't you?


It was a real labour of love to stick each leaf on individually, and to try and layer different sizes to get the trailing effect I was after. There were some metal "branches" on the mesh of the cage (which opens from the top) so I painted these a soft green and added a few flowers.

I added a perch for the bird - who is NOT hand-made but another internet purchase. I would be ashamed to show you my dreadful attempts at bird-making, which is clearly not my forte!!


I'm planning to hang this piece from the ceiling by a chain, but I'm not completely sure that it's finished. I have it in mind to make some dangly pieces to hang from the perch, but I haven't designed them in my head yet!

A scrolled banner behind the bird says "I know why the caged bird sings" which is a poem by Maya Angelou, and also the title of her autobiography.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
A free bird leaps on the back of the wind
and floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wing in the orange suns rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
can seldom see through his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

10 comments:

Lisa said...

I just did a bird cage of sorts on my blog the other day : ) a little different then this one. Mine is more about feeling caged in at times.

ooglebloops said...

Beautiful!! Love the way you did the leaves - what alot of work!!!!

Artyjen said...

Ooooooooooh! Ab Fab....I had a bamboo cage for years waiting for the muse to strike....then my husband chucked it out!!!!
xoxo

Linda said...

What a labour of love....gorgeous! Very impressed with the way you did the leaves.
x

peggy gatto said...

I wonder if one of your little blue eggs is a relative of my blue egg?
Thanks for coming by!
I had such fun!!!
I am away this next week, but I look forward to joining this challenge again!

Gini said...

Beautiful Rosie, I'm sure the right finishing touch will pop into your head when you least expect it, just as long as it's not 3 in the morning!
I was wondering how you did your leaves so thank you for explaining how. It's worth taking that bit of extra time to protect the leaves when you've put so much into it already isn't it?

I'm glad to hear you and your daughter are settling in just dandy together. If you can discuss and agree that the odd bit of grumping by either of you won't spoil anything then that's three quarters of the the fear gone straight away :-)
Happy Crafting Rosie!
Gini xx

~*~Magpie's Nest said...

Another brilliant challenge Rosie, the poem is wonderful too!
I will look at everyone's lovely creations once my is completed!
BTW, your new blog header is beautiful!

Lori Saul said...

Very beautiful work on this birdcage- lovely details and you put a lot of love into it! Thank you for sharing this and a wonderful theme to inspire!

SYLVIA-ANNE said...

Stunningly beautiful Rosie - that goes for the birdcage and the verse.
Sylvia xxx

Anni's Art said...

Your bird cage is so wonderful, love it. I participate for the first time in your challenge, you and Linda have a wonderful challenge blog, and now I have found yours blog I look forward to next challenge.