For the Birds

For the Birds

I love birds. We love birds. Let me explain.

My Grandmother loves birds. Ever since I was a little one we were careful and curious about examining her collections when we visited her house for sleep-overs. “No jumping!” I can hear it now as my two boy cousins and I ran around the sleeping bags on a Friday night. We were careful no to wake Grandma by shaking the den floor or the figurines representing her collection.

Many were gifts and I suppose milestone markers for special occasions, but they always perched in the case and held a special memory, especially now. I never knew I liked them so much until now, being around the artifacts in the house. Binoculars are always in reach for new species spotted on the feeder or bath, that is if the squirrels don’t leave a mess after their wild garden parties. When a visitor is spotted we can always run to the closet and find some Audubon reference for advice.

Perhaps the best thing about them is their song. Their appearance can brighten the dullest of days and their voices bring more sunshine into the yard. Caged or free, they adapt and set a good example of faith and spirit.

Many a poem or song has been given to them or inspired by them, art and jewelry being no exception. This post is not “for the birds”, but instead “FOR THE BIRDS”.

 

Art, Literature, Music and Poetry Inspired by Birds

Psalm 55:6,7

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest…

Caged Bird

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
Maya Angelou, “Caged Bird” from Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing? Copyright © 1983 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (Random House Inc., 1994)
Bird on the Wire

Leonard Cohen

Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
Like a worm on a hook
Like a knight from some old-fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee
If I, if I have been unkind
I hope that you can just let it go by
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you
For like a baby, stillborn
Like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me
But I swear by this song
And by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee
I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch
He said to me, “you must not ask for so much”
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door
She cried to me, “hey, why not ask for more?”
Oh, like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
Songwriters: Leonard Cohen
Bird on the Wire lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Flee as a Bird

Flee as a bird to your mountain
Thou who art weary with sin
Go to the clear flowing fountain
Where you may wash and be clean
Fly, for the avenger is near thee
Call and the Savior will hear thee
He on his bosom will bear thee
Thou who art weary of sin, oh
Thou who art weary of sin
He will protect thee forever
Wipe every falling tear
He will forsake thee, oh, never
Sheltered so tenderly there
Haste now, the hours are flying
Spend not the moments in sighing
Cease from your sorrow and crying
The Savior will wipe every tear, oh
Haste now, the hours are flying
Spend not the moments in sighing
Cease from your sorrow and crying
The Savior will wipe every tear, oh
The Savior will wipe every tear
~ McGlamorous
Pastel Art

Pastel Art

 

 

After several requests from family to list examples of my pastel art, here they are. As you can see I enjoy drawing birds. As explained in a earlier post, the colors and textures they provide are a perfect playground for the senses. Medium used here is pastel. Brands that I enjoy are Sennelier, Rembrandt, Canson, NuPastel, among others.

Saffron Toucanet

Male Indigo Bunting

 

Indian Ringneck

 

Rainbowbird

Cardinal

I Love Color

I Love Color

I Love Color

 

A cool photo that requires a little rhyme…

 

I Love Color

 

I love color.

And wonder how it can be,

That a never ending blue sky

Can bring such joy to me.

 

A flame above a candlestick,

That flickers blue and red.

Colors in my garden.

Colors in my head.

 

A name for every color,

Time held, tried, and true.

A gift to every one of us,

Especially for you.

 

~Alison McGlamry

 

How to Make a Magic Fairy Dust Bottle Necklace

How to Make a Magic Fairy Dust Bottle Necklace

 

Holidays make us all sparkle, even into the New Year, and this year was no exception but instead a reminder of past sparkles in my history. Being a performing artist for so many years had quite its fair share of the wonderful invention we call G l i t t e r. Glitter on the eyes, chest, hair, body, and eyelashes was just a regular routine for a dancer and her friends. And as the B52’s sing….on the mattress and the highway too!

I was taken back to the old days of high school and ballet classes circa 1990’s lately, and remembered a wonderful and fun gift exchanged during performances. The Fairy dust package, or bottle. To some it was simply enchanting. Mysterious and fun. Maybe just a mess to parents, but we ballerinas and dreamers loved it.

I decided to bring the enchantment back to life this Christmas in the form of a gift for my five year old cousin. While making it again this inspired me to do a tutorial which I will complete below. Hope you love it a much as we do.

Long live the glitter!

Here is what we will be making:

 

Fairy Dust Bottle Necklace

 

Materials used:

 

Fairy Dust Bottle Supplies

Fairy Dust Bottle Supplies

 

  • One glass bottle pendant from your local Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, or online bead shop. Some have cork tops like this one shown, others may be screw on or pop top.
  • Some sort of stringing material. I used ribbon but substitutes may include leather, silk, rayon, waxed linen, strung beads or even chain.
  • Finely dusted glitter. The finer the better since it is a magic dust, but once again anything may do.
  • Charm, crystal, or other embellishment. I’ve used a Swarovski glass crystal as a choice in this tutorial.
  • Jump Rings, Spring Rings, Wire.
  • Jewelry tools. Scissors.
  • Small piece of folded paper for transferring glitter.
  • Fray Check.

 

Fairy Dust Bottle Supplies

 

Step One:

You are not restricted to any order here, so have fun. I started with the bottle because I looked forward to filling it with glitter.

Take the folded paper piece and pour a liberal amount of dust / glitter into the crease and into the bottle. Make it as full as you want, or whatever is pleasing to the eye. You have the option of either leaving the bottle open if it is a cork or removable top, or gluing the top securely.

 

Pour

 

Step Two:

Next we want to embellish the bottle with either a jump ring, spring ring, or simply wire some sort of looped piece that we can run the ribbon, cord, or leather through. If you use a flat or thin ribbon, be warned that it will slip through the ring. In one completed versions I chose a larger jump ring. This also gives the advantage of adding other components or charms later. In another I tried a spring ring, which works like a keychain. You may also want to experiment with wire for a more organic look.

 

Opening

 

Open the jumpring with jewelry pliers, either round nose or flat nose. There are many tutorials on techniques, but most importantly, you do not want to separate the ring by pulling the ends away from each other. This will ruin the natural shape of the ring. Instead you want to pull each end away from the other. For the spring ring I use something to create enough opening that will allow the ribbon or cord to pass through, like loading a keychain.

 

To find lessons on technique and beginner tutorials and supplies, I am supplying a link to Fusion Beads. Love their service and site.

 

Opening

 

Step Three:

Now it ‘s time for the Swarovski heart to be added. Here I have used a sterling silver wire here, 22 gauge. Openings in glass charms can break easily with force, so I carefully run the wire through and create a twist of of two or three swirls, clipping the tail end off with my wire cutters. This dabs into wire twisting technique a little bit. You could double the wire here, even cage the heart with a wire wrap.

 

Wire Twist One

 

Wire Twist Two

 

I want to attach this wire to the jump ring, so I run it through and secure another twist.

 

Step Four:

Lastly, we string the ribbon through the loop and secure the ends with a knot. I then add some fray check to the tips to prevent stray hairs. You could go with a clasp or anything on the ends. This was an easy solution for the wearer, who puts everything over her head.

 

Strung

 

Voila! You’re done. Now enjoy your little morsel of magic, and don’t hesitate to put your own twist on this. Ideas are endless when you think of all the colors of glitter and ribbon, leather, clasps, and more. Please check back to my site for added information and links to additional resources. And just in case you would like to purchase a pre-made creation, please link to the store and original product here.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

~McGlamorous

 

Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise

 

RainbowbirdIf you asked most artists what inspires them to draw, or create anything, what would you figure to be the most popular subjects? After shyly joining a pastel artist Facebook group last week, I have been pleasantly surprised at the knowledge gained in such a short period of time. One post addressed the question of what three subjects you like to paint the most. There were several replies, animals being very popular, probably to no one’s surprise. Flowers were the list as well as portraits, and of course one of my favorites……birds.

Indian Plum Headed Parakeet

It seems as though the beauty of the feathers and color variations create a great challenge for the artist. A very large artist create them in the first place. I guess we just like to see if we can come close to interpreting that! Overall, it’s fun.

Male Indigo BuntingWhat do you like to draw and why? I am posting a few of my favorite pieces that have been exciting challenges to work on, with a little caption info about each bird. Leave your comments below if you like. Love to hear from you!

~Alison