Creating rice paper birds fills me with a quiet joy and delight. In a sense they are all the same bird, although they vary slightly in size and shape and are all the colours of the rainbow. Holding a piece of pink rice paper to the sunlight with a piece of green behind it and seeing how it looks in different lights thrills me. It is one thing to glue pieces of translucent paper together on a table; it is an entirely different thing to hold these same pieces of paper up to the window and see how they are completely transformed by light. As I create a rice paper birds, it is akin to having a conversation with light – I cut, I hold up to the light, maybe I glue, maybe I try another shade. For this reason, it takes about 45 minutes, give or take, to create a rice paper bird. I feel as though I could cut and glue and construct these little creatures for a very long time.
Since I am clearly hooked on creating rice paper birds, I have to ask how to move such birds into the world? While it is true that a handful of people have one or two such birds flying in their windows, I want to create sky-fulls of them. I like putting them together on a window, a branch, a translucent screen and creating a pattern of movement. Flocks, families, communities of birds winging their way to an imagined sky. This led to “An Exultation of Larks” created last spring. I like seeing how they look in different venues, during different seasons, in the mornings or the afternoons or on the light of a sombre day.
This fall, I have purchased a quantity of plexiglass, cut in a whole variety of sizes as well as some glue that works well with plexi-glass (but has toxic vapours). Above you can see my first two experiments, done on 8 x 8 pieces of plexiglass. I will try sealing them with glue at the edges. (Up until now, I have been using screws.) I prefer to have no frame around the birds as I like the illusion that they can fly off into the sky. However, I also hope to experiment with real glass, circles, and thin copper or silver frames with help from a local stained glass artist.
I am currently working with a long rectangular piece measuring 28″ x 8″ and loving the challenge.