I have always loved birds and knew I somehow wanted to incorporate them into my artwork. I began by working images of birds into my collages. The next logical step was to create 3-dimensional assemblage birds.
The focal point of my birds are their wings. I create these by cutting out a wing span from a sheet of roofing copper. I then sand the edges and put them in a solution of salt and ammonia to create a patina. When creating a head for my bird, I look through old bird books that I have collected at shows and antique stores. When I find one that I am happy with, I mount it on cardboard and trim the edges. I use a variety of items for my bird bodies. I may use an embellished cardboard base, antique furniture hardware, old plumbing fixtures or an antique watch. As long as the shape somehow resembles a body, the sky is the limit!
I use a variety of objects to represent legs as well. Anything from plain wire to rusted nails to dangling beads will work. I try to keep the birds abstract to a certain degree. They are supposed to be fun and whimsical, not too realistic.
When I have all of my pieces gathered and my design complete I begin gluing the parts together with E-6000. I usually do this in stages rather than trying to put a whole bird together at once. I use clips to hold the pieces secure until the glue has set up.
The final touches on my bird are the most important. I may spell out "fly" in typewriter keys, collage a favorite saying to the front, or add a funky piece of vintage jewelry. I may give the bird a fiber tie around his neck or add a dangly feather charm from a wing.
I once heard that the last thing you add to your piece of artwork is the first thing that catches the eye. I try to keep this in mind while I play around with the finishing touches. Each bird I make is a one of a kind. I sometimes repeat phrases or themes, but no two birds ever come out exactly the same.
Jeanette Janson 04 07
Jeanette is a mixed media artist living on the coast in South Carolina. She spends her time creating artwork, walking on the beach and searching for recyclable items at garage sales, antique shows and collectable fairs.
Her artwork can be seen at several shows she does each year and on her website.