Archive for the ‘Woodcarvers and Artists’ category

Art Review: ‘Birding by the Numbers,’ Birds of Vermont Museum

August 18, 2017

Most art shows can be viewed without particular attention to their settings, but ‘Birding by the Numbers’ is inseparable from its locale. The Birds of Vermont Museum in Huntington organized the community art exhibit to celebrate its 30th anniversary. …Numbers are the key to ornithology… The artists’ responses to this intersection of ideas range from literal to literary.

Source: Art Review: ‘Birding by the Numbers,’ Birds of Vermont Museum

<!– BACKUP : PDF:  Art Review: Birding by the Numbers : Seven Days 2017-08-16 –>

 

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Call to Artists: Birding By the Numbers

December 8, 2016

Birding by the Numbers

A Call to Artists from the Birds of Vermont Museum in celebration of our 30th Anniversary

We at the Museum like to say we are “where natural history meets art.” But flip through the files of time while birding in the last 30 years… what would ornithology be without math? What new facts and figures about feathered phenomena do you most appreciate? Join us as we play with birds and numbers!

We seek bird-focused art that incorporates a feeling for number with artistic expression. We are open to any media. Let your art—from imaginary to irrational, with birds silly and significant—populate our creative space!

Here is a tiny fraction of funky factoids to tickle your fancy and perhaps illustrate what we mean:

  • There are over 25,000 feathers on a Tundra Swan, some 80% of them on its head and neck alone. (from “Waterfowl Feathers” at Ducks Unlimited)
  • It takes four and twenty blackbirds to make a pie suitable for a king. (Mother Goose, with more info at Wikipedia)
  • Barred Owls are home-bodies. Of 158 banded Barred Owls, none had moved more than 6 miles. (from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
  • Bob Spear spent 1,230 hours carving and painting the Wild Turkey: that’s almost 31 weeks of a full-time job (assuming no coffee breaks) (and Bob didn’t drink coffee).

The show runs from May 1 to October 31 in the Museum’s multi-purpose room, halls, and foyer. Most art will be hung on the walls. We have shelf space for three-dimensional works and some ceiling space if your work is suitable there. Feel free to visit and scope out the options! In choosing works for a show, we strive to integrate variety into a harmonious whole.

Both new and returning artists are invited to submit up to 3 works, by sending no more than three (3) .jpgs showing your work to museum@birdsofvermont.org. Please put “Submission for Birding by the Numbers” in the email subject. If you do not have email, you may send up to three prints to the Museum, attention Birding by the Numbers. Please include your contact information and a description of work (media, artwork size, when made, etc.).

Entries are due by Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

Museum staff will select pieces by March 29 and will let artists know by email if possible. The Museum asks for permission to reproduce images of the selected works in print and online as part of publicity for the exhibit; if you prefer partial or cropped images for this, or have preferred images, please tell us or supply them.

Selected pieces should arrive at the Museum during the first weeks of April and be ready to hang (if applicable). Artists are responsible for shipping, or drop-off/pick-up. Pick-up should occur by November 30, 2017.

Artists who show their work here are invited to sell originals, prints, and/or cards through us on consignment. Details are available on request.

We are always thrilled to arrange artist workshops at the Museum with our exhibitors. Please tell us if you are interested in this.

Please call or email Kir Talmage or Allison Gergely with any questions. We can be reached at 802 434-2167 or museum@birdsofvermont.org.

Need more inspiration? We found some — in numerals and nonsense, tesselation and tattoos, geometry and gaggles. Thanks to Google image search and some collaging from our staff:

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This weekend is Open Studio part 2

October 4, 2016

This weekend is Open Studio part 2! We’ll have carvers here https://www.facebook.com/events/298761720499359/ As well as artists, birders, kids… visit and enjoy!

Carve a Bittern!

September 2, 2016

Carve a Bittern! One-day woodcarving class Sept 17.

Blanks + paint provided. Sign up soon! 13939470_10154340481038329_2903594099587402515_n

http://ow.ly/Win4303i2Wi http://ow.ly/i/ma5kA

 

The Bird Carver’s Daughter (Part 11: Battlefields)

June 24, 2016

Guest post by Kari Jo Spear, Photographer, Novelist, and Daughter of Bob Spear
This post appeared first in our Spring 2016  issue of
Chip Notes.

Reprinted by permission. Links added by K Talmage, Museum blog editor.

If birds were my father’s first passion, the Civil War was his second. (Family, he pretty much took for granted.) He could fight every battle from memory, including all the skirmishes leading up to it as well as the aftermath, and discuss the finer points of each battle’s contribution to the overall picture and its enduring legacies. He focused on the Vermonters, especially his great-grand-father and hero, Alonzo Spear. Yet he always held Robert E. Lee in the highest regard. For a long time, I could never understand why my peace-loving, crowd-hating, and squeamish father had such a fascination for battlefields. When I asked him, all he would say was, “Well, they’re kind of interesting.”

One day, my father, Gale, and I visited the Hubbardton Battle Field, where Vermont’s only Revolutionary War battle had taken place. None of us had ever been there before. In the visitor center was a diorama depicting the various movements of the troops during the engagement. I remember standing there, feeling baffled. My father silently contemplated the scenario for a few moments and then launched into a full explanation. He waved his hands over the diorama like a conductor, commenting on the initial positions of both sides, the strategic fallbacks, the flanking attempts, and the outcome. (We lost. But we Vermonters achieved our goal of halting the British in their tracks long enough to allow the main American force to get away. See, I was listening.)

Unbeknownst to us, a member of the staff had been listening, too. “You must be a scholar of this aspect of the Revolution,” he said to my father.

My father shook his head. “Not really. But it’s kind of interesting.”

When we got outside, I said, “I thought you’d never been here before.”

“I haven’t. But these battles are really simple compared to the Civil War.” In other words, he’d figured the whole thing out in about a minute.

My father really was a scholar of the Civil War. I don’t think there is any book, article, or movie he hadn’t memorized. About the only reason he’d leave the museum for a vacation was to tour a battlefield. He visited all the major ones, figuring out exactly where Alonzo would have been standing. Poor Gale would often say with a sigh, “We’re off to fight the Civil War again.” So much for tropical vacations.

This year, one of the high school classes where I assist students did an in-depth study of the Civil War. We read, watched documentaries, and listened to speakers. During class reading time, I found myself researching the 2nd Vermont. When I watched the documentaries, I tried to figure out where my great-great grandfather had been standing. (Yes, he was in the thick of things at Gettysburg, one of the heroic Vermonters who had saved the day and perhaps even turned the tide of the war.) I kept reading more and more. It was addictive. And ancestral.

We spent a lot of time focusing on the military genius of Robert E. Lee. And finally, I began to understand why my father had been so fascinated. Like Lee, my father was a man who planned ahead in a logical way, who studied the lay of the land, who had an instinct for the weather, who knew how to use the sunlight to best advantage, and who had an intuitive sense of how much men and horses could take.

General Spear. It would have been … interesting.

One day, as I headed for my next class with my students, I hesitated for a moment. I almost thought I’d heard my father’s voice echoing down the halls. “Forward, march!”


Kari Jo Spear‘s young adult, urban fantasy novels, Under the Willow, and  Silent One, are available at Phoenix Books (in Essex and Burlington, Vermont), and on-line at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Previous posts in this series:
Part 1: The Early Years
Part 2: The Pre-teen Years (or, Why I’m Not a Carver)
Part 3: Something’s Going On Here
Part 4: The Summer of Pies
Part 5: My Addiction
Part 6: Habitat Shots
Part 7: Growing Up
Part 8: My Dead Arm
Part 9: Remembrance: Tales of My Father
Part 10: Canoe Lessons

 

New in exhibit! male Common Merganser carving

March 18, 2016

We’re pleased to add the male Common Merganser to our Spring Wetland exhibit! Thank you, woodcarver Dick Allen! http://ow.ly/i/hBwIl

 

Owly Image

The Bird Carver’s Daughter (Part 10: Canoe Lessons)

December 31, 2015

Guest post by Kari Jo Spear, Photographer, Novelist, and Daughter of Bob Spear
This post appeared first in our Late Fall 2015  issue of
Chip Notes.

Reprinted by permission.

In one thing, my father and I were always in perfect accord. He may have dragged me kicking and screaming into the world of birding, but I always loved to canoe. From the time I was old enough to reach over the gunwale, I had a paddle in my hands. My first one was a blue plastic badminton racquet attached to a thwart with a string. I paddled my little heart out with it, stirring up white water and getting soaking wet while my father paddled serenely along in the stern. I always wondered why everybody laughed when they saw us coming.

When I was old enough to graduate to a wooden paddle, my father had me sit in the bow. I’d hardly learned the basic strokes when he put me in the stern and took the bow himself.

“Wait, this is where you steer from,” I said.

“Yeah,” he said and demonstrated the J-stroke.

Surprisingly, it was really easy to make the canoe go where I wanted it to, unlike riding a bike, or doing math. My father preferred to hug the shoreline (watching for shorebirds wasn’t enough for him—he wanted to see warblers, too.) I ran him into a few low hanging limbs at first, but he didn’t mind, even when they had spiders (which always seemed to find their way back along the length of the canoe to my bare toes).

Soon he began giving me complex directions like, “Bring us in sideways next to that log. Back up a little. Hold it right there.” It took me a while to notice he wasn’t paddling—he was looking through his binoculars into the trees. Huh.

Once I got really good at steering, he taught me how to paddle without taking the paddle out of the water. “It’s the way the Indians used to do it,” he said. “You don’t make any noise at all. Take a regular stroke and then sort of glide the paddle up ahead of you through the water, angled a little. That’s it.”

My paddle slid through the water like a silent knife, completely eliminating the plunk of the blade breaking the surface and the silvery rain of drops coming off the edge when it swept forward. I imagined Indians sneaking up on their enemies, soundless in the night.

“Works great to get close to a heron,” my father said.

That, too.

The first time I ever paddled solo was on a field trip. There were seven or eight canoes, and we spent the day making our way down Otter Creek. We had spotted a car where we planned to take out. The problem was we couldn’t see the road from the creek. By late afternoon, everyone was tired, hot, hungry, sunburned, bug bitten, sick of sitting, and had to pee (at least, I did). But we couldn’t find the car. A discussion broke out over whether we’d passed it, or if it was still ahead. My father told everybody to rest in the shade, and he’d go on downstream a ways. Since I was paddling with him, that meant me, too. So we kept going. And going. And going.

My father didn’t usually get lost (except in the mall parking lot) and pretty soon he was frowning. At last, he told me to land us on a tiny strip of sand and he’d walk across a field, find the road, and look around for the car that had to be somewhere nearby. I waited about fifteen minutes, and then I heard him shout from a long distance farther down the creek that he’d found the car, and to save time, I should paddle back and get the others.

I yelled back that I would. And then the canoe got a whole lot bigger and heavier and kind of scary. He’d told me the best place to paddle solo was kneeling in the center   with the boat facing the other way around, going stern first. That kept the canoe level. So I climbed into the center and knelt down, resting my butt on the edge of a thwart, and pushed off. I felt like I was paddling through molasses, until I remembered I was going against the current. Not to mention I was dead tired. But I was used to being the only one paddling a good deal of the time while he was birding, so soon I had some momentum going. I kept close to shore, and after a while, my heart rate settled back down.

At long last, the other canoes came into sight, nosed into shore where a collection of people who looked like they were shipwreck survivors were collapsed in the shade. They saw me coming, and someone shouted, “Oh my God, where’s your father?” They were jumping up like they thought he’d fallen overboard and had been eaten by a giant snapping turtle just because I was a kid paddling alone.

I yelled back, “He walked  He says keep coming.”

As they piled back into their canoes, someone asked if I wanted a bow paddler. I shook my head, turned the canoe on a dime, and started paddling Indian style back downstream.

I had this—no problem.

 

Kari Jo Spear‘s young adult, urban fantasy novels, Under the Willow, and  Silent One, are available at Phoenix Books (in Essex and Burlington, Vermont), and on-line at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Previous posts in this series:
Part 1: The Early Years
Part 2: The Pre-teen Years (or, Why I’m Not a Carver)
Part 3: Something’s Going On Here
Part 4: The Summer of Pies
Part 5: My Addiction
Part 6: Habitat Shots
Part 7: Growing Up
Part 8: My Dead Arm
Part 9: Remembrance: Tales of My Father

 


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