10/21/2019: I'm excited about this phoenix project, and have decided to make more than one. I will post updates to this blog as my work progresses.
After several false starts, I've managed to make two phoenix bodies that I'm happy with. I hope the large one will be good enough for an art exhibit. The small one is for practice. I expect they'll end up about twice their current size after I add legs, wings and long tails.
These are three of my early rejects before I was happy with the body shape. The first one on the left is too fat. The middle one has a crooked neck. The one on the right is almost perfect, except that the leg openings are a bit too far back. I will save these bodies for other projects.
This is the amount of stuffing it takes to fill one large bird. I pack it as tightly as possible so the bird feels almost solid.
10/30/2019: Just for fun, I've decided to also make a couple of white phoenixes, AKA snowbirds, as a counterpoint to the traditional fiery red phoenixes.
Here's a batch of bird legs under construction. I'll use them for phoenixes, plus some extras for future projects. The legs take about a week to make due to drying time for glue and paint between steps, so I like to keep extras on hand in case I need to complete a project quickly.
11/14/19: Finished bird legs.
11/21/19: Beaks, painted and stitched. Up next: Attaching the legs.
11/24/19:The red phoenixes are now standing proudly on their own legs.
11/24/2019: And here are the white phoenixes with their legs attached.
11/30/2019: I decided to experiment with making my own fire by hand-painting white cotton fat quarters.
I first wet the fabric, then sponged on Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow paints in Sun Yellow, Bright Orange and Brilliant Red. Then I sprinkled rock salt, and scrunched up the fabric.
Six fat quarters fit on my kitchen table, and there are six more fat quarters spread out on countertops around the house.
After they dry, I'll decide whether I like them well enough to cut into feathers for my phoenixes.
12/3/19: Phoenix feathers! These are made from purchased print cotton, and not from my hand-painted fabric. I will use these feathers on a practice bird before cutting into the good stuff.
12/18/2019: I've been a bit distracted lately, but am now getting back to work on my phoenix project. Here's some lace that I painted in fiery colors. I plan to use it as an embellishment on head and wings, unless I change my mind. I've never built a phoenix before, and am making it up as I go.
12/20/2019: Phoenix wings! I'm still not sure how to attach them to the bird.
12/30/2019: My phoenix now has a tail and wings.
This is my practice phoenix. It’s a bit crooked and wobbly, but I’m learning a lot while building it. The next one will be easier, but first I’ll finish this version.
Up next: the face, my favorite part because that’s when the personality is revealed.
For further updates, click here.
Welcome to my fantasy world
I'm a textile artist in Camarillo, California, USA, specializing in three-dimensional fabric sculpture. I use this blog page to record my journey and to share some of my successes and failures, in hopes that it might help you with your own creative endeavors.