I began to make this figure in response to an exhibit coming up this summer at the La Veta Art Gallery on Main, in La Veta, Colorado. The theme is "Wings". My plan was unclear at the beginning. I was vaguely thinking I would make a figure and stick on some wings near the end of the process. As I worked, I began to remember an elderly woman that I used to see around our south Denver neighborhood years ago. She was distinctive mainly because she drove a vintage 1950's cab that had been painted blue. The words "Bird Ambulance" and "Bird Taxi" were hand lettered on the front doors. She always caught my eye because she wore her long white hair in a thick braid.
A little research told me that the woman had been called "Birdie" since childhood. Her life-long passion was to rescue injured wild birds. She cared for them in her home, often as many as 30 at a time. She released them with the exception of a raven named "Edgar" who was her companion for many years. I wish I had made the effort to meet Birdie when I had a chance. Read more about the original Catherine "Birdie" Hurlbutt.
My Birdie is about 20" tall with white feathers tucked into her braid. Her hands raised over her head have just released a healthy bird into the wild. As I write this I realize I need to make a raven to sit on her shoulder. The title of the piece is "Released". It will be finished with a raven and available at the La Veta Gallery on Main, after May 28.