I went out into the garden this morning – it was raining. As I stood drinking my coffee, looking at the dark shiny clods of earth, I saw that tender pink Rhubarb shoots had broken through; pale green leaves still curled tight against the cold.
I thought about how the earth had taken the shape of Rhubarb, how there was a possibility of Rhubarb and suddenly, one January morning, there it was, tender, wobbly, prone to slug attack.
I then thought about my Fat Birds and how they were born in a similar fashion from wet clay.
I spent many months thinking about birds and watching them before going into the studio. I saw fat woodpigeons squabbling in the hawthorn, seagulls chasing air currents on a windy day, a tiny robin singing with the voice of silver bells from a tree branch. There was a possibility of Fat Birds.
Later on in my studio the first Fat Bird emerged almost by itself. I had to make very few changes and adaptations.
Because of Fat Birds fondness for the naked fire, I had to find out how to expose them to it without them blowing up in the process. In the end, smoke firing them in a galvanised dustbin filled with sawdust and Fat Birds and then set alight achieved that mottled effect I had in my mind’s eye. I have made hundreds of birds since that day, but I feel that each bird is here on her own terms, telling the story about what it is like to be a Fat Bird.
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