A lot of my imagery comes from what I see on the surface of the pot after I’ve painted the slip on. I look at the brush strokes on the surface and they suggest images to me. Perhaps that’s why I have a lot of birds and fish on my pots; they are generally shaped like a typical brush stroke.
Birds have manifested themselves in my subconscious as the caretakers of security, of home; they are the ultimate good and selfless parents and they are omnipresent (in real life too- the always -everywhere ambassador of nature).
I also started drawing nests on my pots.
I didn’t think much about it until I started looking at the birds I was drawing with the nests. They sometimes looked menacing such as the large one in No Fly Zone done the first year of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The nests require a lot of time and energy as I painstakingly draw the individual strands and twigs. It’s not quite the same as building one but it’s the best I can do.
Nests are a wonderful metaphor for home and protection and parenting. The parent birds spend all this time and energy working on this nest, crafting it just so, sheltering the delicate eggs and working ceaselessly to feed the little hatchlings –
the hatchlings crap all over the nest and eventually jump out and take off. A thankless job to be sure and of course there’s that empty nest there.
Still beautiful, a bit worse for wear and its purpose is over -depending on the breed – some birds reuse their nests every year; fixing them up in the spring; others abandon the nest and it eventually falls apart.
Then last year, I made this lovely nest but somehow the bird I saw coming out of it was HUGE.
That was weird but fine however, when I made a second one, I had to stop and wonder why. Of course the minute I looked at it- hmmm a strident bird too big for the nest and I have a teenager – it became clear.
So the nests seem to be about home, parenting and safety no matter what their various states; one or two eggs or empty or,
surprisingly, filled with a huge loud bird that is definitely still in the nest but not happy about it. I don’t think the mommy bird is too thrilled about it either.