The birds are singing in the rain about the small pond in front, the inquisitive chickadee that has flown at once to the alders to reconnoitre us, the blackbirds, the song sparrow, telling of expanding buds.
Henry David Thoreau, journal entry for April 21, 1852.
Thoreau’s journals are brimming with his observations of birds. How could it be otherwise? Their songs, movement, and mere presence bring joy. As I look up from writing, a pair of chickadees are flitting in and out of the little birdhouse where they are raising their brood. I was able to get a few photos of them last evening.
Making sure the coast is clear, then off to gather some food.
Back with the loot.
Here we go again…
It’s also been fun to watch the finches raise a family in the hanging fern on the front porch. In the photos above and below, the female is perched above her chicks hidden in the foliage beneath her.
With all of this bird inspiration around the house, it makes sense that I’m inclined to carve crooks into bird forms. Here’s one I just finished carving from black cherry.
I like the movement of the lines, which is, in part, a result of working with the asymmetric flow of fibers within the particular crook.
Below is the crook from which this bird was carved. The lower half has been split away and I’ve scribbled a rough idea of a center line. Much more about the flow of the wood inside is revealed as the carving proceeds from this point.
The deep and undercut hollow is chunked out a bit with gouges, then completed with hook knives. The exterior is shaped with an axe and finished with a sloyd knife. 12 inches long, 4 inches wide, and 7 inches high.
Here’s a couple more views: