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Real felt birds

March 11, 2017

DSC06637_DxO resized

photo Rende Zoutewelle

Painting has been low key for awhile. I’ve tried showing up at the canvas anyway, but end up just rehashing stale ideas. It is a period where I need fresh input, so I’ll be giving it a rest until inspiration comes again.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on the little guy above. I’m not quite sure what got me started on making felt birds. I had made a flock of them as brooches several years ago.

Maybe it is because the birds around here (northern Europe) lift my spirits. Not only do I regularly see blue cranes on my walks, but also flocks of geese stringing across the big skies chattering and calling to each other; and that rare treat, a swan family, whooping above with the wonderful whooshing of the wings. You just feel like you got blessed when they have passed by.

My husband has rigged up several bird feeders close to our large dining room windows and we’ve come to know the regular visitors well. Sparrows of course, coal tits like the one above, chaffinches, blue tits, ring doves, and English robins are the main ones. I just love the coal tits with their neat little black fronts and soft yellow bellies and sides. They like sunflower seeds best and will perch at the feeder tossing out everything else until they get to a prize, then they retreat to a higher branch and crack it open by holding it between their claws and pecking at it until they get to the meaty part. Chaffinches and robins will sit on the ground gratefully picking up the rejects thrown out by the coal tits. Watching the interactions between the birds is also entertaining.

coal tit n finch1

So basically I made these birds to keep me company upstairs in my studio. The chaffinch is kind of crude, it was a first prototype . They definitely have some kind of presence, though, because our dog is jealous of them!

DSC06639_DxO resized

photo Rende Zoutewelle

If I do make more (not for awhile, they are So Much Work) I’d do a sparrow next.  They are incredibly beautiful when you stop to look – with soft grey feathers and reddish chestnut caps and streaks of black, and various browns on the head and wings. There are also white accents, bringing out the contrast of all the different feathers. And did you know there are dozens of different types of sparrows? I didn’t until recently.

Anyway, the weather here is more springlike, so instead of sitting inside making felt birds, I’ll be out in the garden enjoying the real ones!

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10 Responses to “Real felt birds”

  1. Julie Says:

    These are beautiful!


  2. I love these little felt birds Sarah. We have birds feeding in our garden too. (we have a feeder outside the kitchen window) However – I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you here. The second felt bird is not a coal tit – it’s a Great tit. We have them here too, and also Blue tits. The way we distinguish one from the other is: The Great tit has a black scarf wrapped around his throat and down his yellow front. The Blue tit is not that blue, but it wears a blue cap on its head :-). I enjoyed reading you post, thank you, eoin


  3. thanks for the correction Eoin. The confusion (mine) may come from the fact that I learned this bird’s name in Holland- it is called a koolmeesje, so the kool is close to coal, and coal tit. Our blue tits, sweet little ones with a blue cap indeed, are called pimpelmeesjes. I love that their head feathers always seem to be a bit mussed.

    I looked up ‘great tit’and it definitely seems to be the one I made in felt, with the yellowy feathers. The coal tit seems more in the greys and blacks without the yellow.

  4. Dobrinka Nicole Popov Says:

    Completely and utterly charming as well as beautiful!!

  5. C-Marie Says:

    I have just found you by seeing your clothes pin hang ups for your brushes on pinterest to which I do not belong, but could see well enough! I love your felt birds!! I have a bird made of twigs which was originally a Christmas tree top ornament in my studio. So fun!


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