Monday, 29 September 2014

The resurrection of extinct birds

Three weeks of preparation and excitement, researching the sad tales of extinct birds, sketching, procrastinating and preparing, then Friday 26th September had arrived.   I took my sewing machine, scrap bag and stitchy paraphernalia along to The Forge in Camden to be the “artist in residence” for Day 1 of the Ghosts of Gone Birds live art studio as part of the Camden Migration Festival.
To be precise I dropped my stuff off the night before - what a sight met my eyes!  The RSPB bird hide from Coquet Island had arrived just a couple of hours earlier and with the aid of hacksaws and hammers Wes, the RSPB warden, was in the process of supervising re-constructing  it in the studio.  It was a little chaotic, but I was assured as I left that all would be well in the morning…
…And well it most certainly was, a beautiful structure (it’s a copy of the lighthouse on Coquet Island) and is furnished with a clam-shaped stove to keep out those Northumbria chills and a disco ball in lieu of a lighthouse lamp.  The perfect place for visitors to twitch artists resurrecting extinct birds and a great place for a quick coffee break!

In all my preparation, I had no idea just how many birds I would be able to resurrect over the course of the day.  As the day wore on, I found more and more species coming to life under the needle of my sewing machine.  The afternoon's work was set to a cacophony of near-extinct bird calls, and as the light faded outside, The Old Dance School septet picked up their instruments for a soundtrack of mesmerising modern folk from the stage below. 

In 14 hours I managed 10 species of extinct bird, brought back to life in stitch.  Exhilarating, exciting and exhausting; it was an amazing day and I’m pretty proud to have been involved in such an relevant and creative project in an incredibly vibrant venue.  There are a few i-phone snaps of my work for the day here; I’ll post more over the next couple of weeks, along with the stories of these gone birds.

Don’t forget, there’s another 11 artists involved in the live art studio; you can go along to the Forge in Camden any day until the 6th October and see one of them resurrecting more extinct birds.  There's also loads of music, poetry and other cultural happenings all related to the theme of avian and human migration.  All the artwork is for sale and will be displayed at The Forge until the end of October.  Follow the link below for details.
Competition Winner!!!
Drumroll please…
The winner of the inaugural Halcyon Threads giveaway is….
Katie Fuller
Well done Katie!

Kate x

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