Bird Week: Put a Bird On It!

The Seattle Public Library is partnering with the Seward Park Audubon Center for Bird Week, April 23-30, in celebration of the center’s 10th anniversary and the National Audubon Society’s 2018 Year of the Bird.

Long before Portlandia made it a meme, artists and craftspeople have been adorning their work with birds. One of the earliest known artworks is a 30,000 year-old sculpture of a water bird carved from a mammoth tusk. By the time John James Audubon began painting his famous Birds of America in the early 19th century, birds had been the subject of paintings, sculptures, weavings, jewelry and many other art forms for millennia.

You too can join this hallowed artistic tradition and celebrate Bird Week by creating your very own bird-centric art pieces with help from some library resources. Here are a few suggestions:

Painting and Drawing: Follow in Audubon’s footsteps by learning how to realistically depict birds in pencil and paint. Complete beginners will find Lee Ames’ Draw 50 Birds a helpful step-by-step guide that shows you how to draw numerous bird species, from hummingbirds to flamingoes. Self-taught artist Kaaren Poole demonstrates her richly detailed method of capturing common backyard birds in colored pencil with 27 different examples in Drawing Birds with Colored Pencil. And professional bird artist William T. Cooper explores all aspects of drawing and painting birds in his stunningly beautiful volume, Capturing the Essence: Techniques for Bird Artists.

Knitting: You can knit your very own flock with Scandinavian knitting duo Arne & Carlos and their charming Field Guide to Knitted Birds. If you’d rather incorporate bird motifs into your knitting than knit a bird, try out Celeste Young’s Knits of a Feather which includes cute patterns for avian-adorned cowls, hats, shawls and more. 

Fabric Arts: If sewing is more your speed, check out Little Birds: 26 Handmade Projects to Sew, Stitch, Quilt & Love which compiles bird-related fabric craft projects from and that are great for beginning sewers. For two-dimensional, pictorial projects made with fabric and thread, see Rachel Sumner’s Stitched Textiles: Birds which features a range of birds and techniques.

Paper Craft: Origami lovers will enjoy Duy Nguyen’s Origami Birds, which is full of colorful paper projects that are outlined through detailed, easy-to-follow instructions. Hiroshi Hayakawa’s Paper Birds: 25+ Projects to Copy, Cut, and Fold combines origami (paper folding) and kirigami (paper cutting) techniques to create elegant paper bird sculpture designs.

Want more ideas? Check out this list of other books, DVDs and streaming videos that will inspire you to PUT A BIRD ON IT!

 ~ Posted by Abby B.

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