I started drawing Quirky Birds in response to an unpleasant work experience. They made me smile.

It was that simple.

Then one day I was stuck at home and one of my children threw an egg carton in the recycling. I picked it up and saw some eyes peering at me. So I started to make a small sculpture – Edith. She is kind of an owl, kind of a chicken, kind of a Quirky Bird. I showed Edith to a friend who challenged me to respond to a children’s book that had just come out – “Chicken Divas”. So I made Brittney – a singing chook that loves karaoke.

About a week later I found some of my Quirky Bird drawings and wondered if I could make them in a 3D form. “Knocked Down” was the next one. As i kept making them, mostly out of recycleables with air-dry clay, I found each ‘bird’ had been prompted by a question. What if I….?

“Irwin” came out of a question about a square Quirky Bird. So changing an element from round forms to blocks. Then the bottle birds came: Toddie, Lydia 1937, Olaf, Ruth and Tiana. Someone had given me a whole box of eye-dropper bottles. “Finlea” has a vitamin bottle as her body. “Cake Monster” has a basket for her body. “Roderick” is made from toys that I acquired as I went through my mum’s estate.

When I was in an op shop the other day, I found an orange dinosaur toy. I saw it’s tail as a beak, its body as a chest plate and it’s face will probably be part of a tail. It’s not about the things that you have but more about how you use them!

I follow an instagram page @bird_perfection which posts images and videos of birds. Sometimes it is the look of the bird that inspires sometimes it is their behaviour. Or it could be a flower in my garden, a strelitsia popped out at me as I was heading out one day. You just need to pay attention to what you notice, take a photo on your phone and let it percolate.

One time I had started a bird with a clear bottle and a student asked me was I going to leave it clear. I had not thought of this but two or three birds later one of them has a clear head with mini fake flowers in it and another has a clear body with a rib-cage and heart inside.

I think if you stay open and curious, the next thing to make will ‘appear’ just when you are ready to try a new thing.

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