a bird in the hand…

IMG_1699I’ve made several bird-inspired books over the years. Their shapes are perfect for non-traditional book binding: wings or feathers can act as pages, after all. And when you imagine what the bird has to say beyond its specific song, it’s hard not to want to capture that voice in poetry or bookiness (or both).

When my photographer friend Lynne, who works with Lights Out Baltimore, proposed a show based around the plight of birds that crash into the lighted windows of downtown Baltimore, I knew I had to jump on board. I had been playing around with paper pop-ups late last year, so this seemed like the perfect place to try some new things!

See coverage of the show here in Bmore Art!

After seeing Lynne’s work, I wondered about what it would take to bring a bird back to life — with paper and poetry. So, I read up on the lives and sounds of several of the birds Lynne photographed, and started playing around with shapes…

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Figuring out pop-up shapes takes a lot of patience, but it is ridiculously fun to try new things. As usual, I wanted to find a meaningful part of the shape to hold the words, so I decided that the poems would be revealed in tiny pamphlet stitch puffed chest pages as the bird books opened, or came to life…

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I wound up making six different bird shapes. When they’re closed, you see a black and white representation of the dead bird; when you open the pop-up, it springs into color and poetry. It was really fun drawing and playing around with watercolors.

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The final books, together entitled “Six Birds: Unsung/Sung,” are on display at Goucher College’s Silber Gallery, now through May 3, as part of Lynne’s show, “Unfriendly Skies: Birds, Buildings, and Collisions,” along with 16 other wonderful area artists. I’m so proud to be a part of such a unique and meaningful collection. Don’t miss the show’s reception, Friday, April 10, from 6-9 p.m., with an artists’ talk at 7:30 p.m.

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