Protected Finch

Updated: Sep 27, 2019

When I first saw the call for entry “Connecting Our Natural Worlds”, the subject spoke to me very directly - maybe because my studio is between a forest and a small family orchard, in other words, embedded in nature from which I draw a lot of inspiration. One day, during a break, I observed this finch. Together, we looked from under Boston Ivy into the garden. It felt so sheltered and protected.


First, I’d like to share with you my response to this call, and then below I’ll share the step-by-step on how this “Protected Finch” was created.


Entry:

Every year, finches migrate through my backyard. They seek shelter under the cover of green leaves. The “leaves” are shown as over 200 individually dyed and folded rectangles that overlap. Like in nature, where no 2 leaves are identical, these rectangles vary in material, size, and dye.


Finches exist as many different species: some are endangered, others less so; but all of them require our protection and care. What can you do? -

1. Do not attempt to feed them where dogs, cats, rodents, or snakes can attack them.

2. If you have some space for sunflowers, they’ll love you for it.

3. Do not clean any bird feeders with products that may be caustic or toxic for them (like many household clearers contains ammonia, chlorine, aerosol, perfumes etc.

Did you know that finches are very sensitive to fumes?

1. Keep bird feeders away from your barbecue and kitchen.

2. Avoid most products that produce fumes, fogs, mists, including tobacco products and cigarette smoke, and many more.


Step-by-step:

Summer 2018: Among others, dye lots of cheesecloth.


Early December 2018: Create ‘quilt sandwich’ of up-cycled sheets and begin layout; iron and fold each individual piece of cheesecloth so that the edges are well inside. They are all different sized because in nature no leave is identical to another.


Mid December: Dye some more missing colors with recycled Handkerchiefs and continue layout.


December/January: At this point the design is just made up of loose pieces, held down by some long rulers. It’s time to baste them by hand. which takes a couple of weeks

January 23: Stitching ‘Protected Finch” with my home-sewing machine.

January 31, 2019: Looks like it’s done.



The same step-by-step process is also shown in this video (with more images): https://youtu.be/PPC9FCJ4MbE


“Protected Finch” has been accepted for the SAQA exhibition “Connecting Our Natural Worlds“.

The premiere location is the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Tucson, Arizona from October 5, 2019 – January 5, 2020. More exhibitions will follow until December 2022.


“Protected Finch” is expected in its old or a new home by January 31, 2023.

Thanks for making it all the way to the end of this post.


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© 2012 - 2020 by Maria Billings