The Stone Bird

I started these pieces for the book ‘The Stone Bird’ ages ago; that is, I laid them down. Much has interrupted since but in hand with working on the large ‘Between Dark Spaces’ quilt I am getting on with the book now. I was a little worried about how I could avoid cuteness and prettiness, which with some species of bird is impossible. I’ve since decided not to worry and include whatever birds feel right for the flow and purpose of the book. It’s simply a personal narrative. Certainly the Archaeopteryx cannot be described as pretty [he featured many posts ago and supplied the theme of the book] and perhaps I should include a turkey and a vulture, to offset the bullfinch and lapwing. Celebrate them all, I say.

Here are some images of the pieces I’ve started, the machine stitching is completed on some but not others, and then it’s onto the hand stitching. There are also a couple of books I’m reading too.

A rather stormy lapwing. I managed to watch one in the summer for a long time by peering through a hedge. They are very delicate and subtly coloured, just exquisite. This chap will be partnered by a smaller, finer representative of his species on the facing page. I wanted to represent something of how they live in the open fields in all weathers with this image, and the treatment of the bird.

This was the start of my cute problem, but that’s what they look like. Cute but tough; but also liable to end up feeding a cuckoo chick.

The opening page; landscape with fossils.

The page after the Archaeopteryx, the start of the seasonal and diurnal cycle the book will [mostly] follow.

This is an interesting book which examines human responses to birds, using a variety of contexts.

I’ll quote from the introduction to describe this book;  ‘This book is about the disregarded Darwin…about the years of work on the plants, animals and people who make that make their home in the land of his birth.’ He spent five years on The Beagle, five weeks in the Galapagos, and after his return from the latter never left Britain again, working for forty years on British native species, laying the foundations of modern biology.