I love teaching art. Yesterday’s class, full of strangers, was a great experience from the beginning. We were triumphant in that the wire birds were almost complete by the end of the class. I encouraged them to continue to play with the wire – refining the shape, thinking about embellishments and another project.
Throughout the class some of my instruction was either not understood, not heard or misunderstood. I’m reflecting on those hilarious and sometimes frustrating moments for the students. Those will have to finessed! On the up side they learned to redo or think around a problem.
By lunch the class had rolled and shaped the general size and shape of their birds. After lunch we added legs, beaks and eyes and continued to shape the bodies.
Here are the 6 finished pieces by the class and my small inspiration bird. I had them work on twice the amount of material.
Recently I came across two sculptors from Britain who use wire as their sculpture medium – Helen Godfrey and Celia Smith. Both are different from each-other as one seems to use found or recycled wire (electrical and cable wires) and the other one uses Chicken Wire or loose wire. I have a sculpture background. Seeing this wire work had me wondering how I could use it. Naturally I would have to start somewhere. I’ve worked in clay, soapstone and wood. Like many sculptors I’ve used chicken wire for building up the form on the armature. As an art teacher I began to think that it could be a fun project for students – if I could manipulate the wire half as well at these artists.
I cut out my 1st piece of chicken wire a short while ago and began to play. Almost immediately I was into the challenge and determined to win. My past skills of working in three dimensions came back to me like I had not stopped sculpting twenty years ago.
Here is my 1st effort. I used two pieces of 1FT SQ chicken wire and a few pieces of heavy wire and fine wire to add definition to the beak and eyes. It took me over 8 hrs of tweaking.
It took under 6 hours to start and finish my 2nd Wire Bird. It is smaller and made from one piece of 1 FT SQ chicken wire and a heavy and fine gauge galvanized wire. I used two stone beads for the eyes.
I like this little bird sculpture and am going to work on more to play with the process. Decorating the bird with wire and beads may add unique personalities to the birds.