I have to admit that I like water birds. We have a long-running joke in my family that any time we’re on a vacation by the Great Lakes, someone has to take a picture of a seagull. My dad thinks seagulls are bothersome and homely, and he’s right. However, I love their call and their presence when we visit Duluth. Duluth, MN is one of my favorite places in the world to visit. My parents honeymooned in that area, and they took us kids there when we were very little, and it’s been a favorite place ever since. I’ve never seen any ocean, so Lake Superior is as close as I’ve been to such big water, and I must say, I don’t mind. It’s such a majestic place to be.
Ah, but I’m getting all nostalgic now. Let’s get back to the topic of this post, shall we? 🙂
This is a sculpture I created for Ashley for the Arts. The inspiration for this piece started at a “barn sale” I went to back in May. It was essentially a thrift sale that was held in a shed. Unfortunately, I didn’t find too much, but I did find a massive bag full of vintage hair pins and curlers. Among them, there were dozens of these old hair rollers. In other words, beaks!
I don’t usually put my sculptures on any sort of base or stand, but this guy is pretty front-heavy, and his feet were not sufficient to hold his weight, so I had to think outside the box to make him sturdy.
-Measures (with wooden base) 8 1/4 inches tall x 5 inches long (this is the length of the bird from beak to rump) x 3 inches wide (this is the wooden base). The bird, itself, measures 5 1/2 inches tall.
-Made with 17 gauge steel fencing wire (some silver wire again, at last!), some 20 gauge steel wire, and some 22 gauge steel wire, I believe. It has been some time since I made this guy, so I’m not positive about the wire gauges anymore. The beak is an old hair roller, and is even marked with the brand name Goody, which is cute, don’t you think? He has caught a fish, as you can see. It’s a small metal charm of some sort, which I wired into the pelican’s beak. Oh, and his beak is workable, by the way. You can open it like a clothespin. The neck and body are solid wire, and the spindly legs are made of metal pieces I harvested from a necklace. They’re ridged and shiny, and I liked that they were so slender, because those water birds seem to walk on toothpicks! The feet are antique metal pieces I purchased in a lot online. The feet are screwed to the wooden base so that they’ll stay put. The base, by the way, is a furniture “foot” that I had on hand, which was painted it with a turquois paint. Despite having the feet screwed down, the pelican still wanted to sag forward from his weight (it must be that giant fish), so I had to figure out a way to stabilize him. In the end, a hole needed to be drilled into the wooden base, and a thick wire inserted into it, covered in strong glue. I clipped off the wire so it reached the base of the pelican’s neck. I then wired the stabilizing wire and the neck together so the pelican could rest its weight there. To disguise the wire, I then went all-out nautical and wrapped that stabilizing wire in jute so that it looked like rope. And finally, I hung a little sign on the post advertising fresh fish. Very fresh, in this pelican’s opinion. I found a free-use fish illustration and typed the Fresh Fish sign, and printed it on a natural, sandy background, cut it out, and put it into this glass window frame that I bought at an art store. Ah, at last, I think I’ve covered all the materials for this sculpture.
Finally, I have to share this photo. As I was doing my photo shoot of the pelican, this dainty little fly landed on its head. I thought it made for an interesting shot.
Thank you for looking!