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Amazing Photography

A Mother Duck and Her Extraordinary Brood of 76 Ducklings Photographed in a Minnesota Lake

August 1, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

All images © Brent Cizek

Minnesota-based wildlife photographer Brent Cizek was headed back to shore before a summer storm when he spotted the common merganser he would later nickname “Momma Merganser.” At first the mother duck was being followed by a brood of more than 50 fluffy ducklings, however when spotted the group again, the total had grown to 76.

“I happened to find this group of mergansers purely by luck, but I was absolutely amazed by what I saw,” Cizek tells Colossal. “At the time I didn’t know anything about the species, so I wasn’t sure if what I witnessed was a common occurrence or something out of the ordinary. All I knew was that I had never seen anything like that before.”

The scene is extraordinary indeed. Although the aquatic birds are known to lay their eggs in the nests of other ducks, a female duck can only incubate 20 at any given time explains Kenn Kaufman, field editor for AudubonIt is most likely that several dozen of the ducklings lost their mothers and were adopted into Momma Merganser’s own brood.

Cizek plans to continue following the extra large family, and posts his findings to on Instagram. To learn more about merganser habits, read the National Audubon Society’s piece on the surprising spectacle. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Art Craft

Bubble-Covered Flowers and Ornate Animals Formed From Cut Paper by Pippa Dyrlaga

August 1, 2018

Andrew LaSane

All images © Pippa Dyrlaga

The most basic instrument in the hands of a master can produce awe-inspiring results. For Yorkshire-based artist and printmaker Pippa Dyrlaga (previously), that instrument is a common blade handle equipped with fine point blades. The resulting works of art are incredibly detailed paper cuts of plants, animals, and abstract designs with hand-replicated patterns and variations in line width that give them dimensionality and bring the flat images to life.

Pippa only began paper cutting in 2010, a year before completing her Masters degree in Art and Design and Curation at Leeds Metropolitan University. On finding inspiration and imagery that would work well for her style and craft, Pippa tells Colossal that ideas tend to flow from her surroundings and from other projects. “Most of the time one piece will lead to another, but I sometimes get an idea that I just want to try out, something I have been thinking of for a while. I have always lived in quite inspiring and green places, filled with local wildlife and flora, and much of my inspiration stems from being outside and enjoying it, and feeling like a part of it.”

While all of her pieces are meticulous, Pippa says that apart from a basic layout sketch, not a lot goes into the planning phase. “I prefer the pieces where I work on the design as I am cutting them out! I will have a detail or a general idea of what I want it to look like in my head, and I will create the full image whilst I am working on it, in smaller sections, so it develops quite organically.” For larger pieces that do require some planning, she will sometimes make smaller versions first to see how the details will work. “I quite like not knowing what it will look like until its finished,” she tells Colossal.

As for how those details are achieved, Pippa assured us that the blades and handle are the main weapons in her arsenal. “Papercutting doesn’t require anything fancy,” she said. “The tools are as simple as the medium. The rest is practice!” She does, however, have personal preferences when it comes to the paper she cuts (good quality, acid-free, and from sustainable sources), and there are a few measures taken to ensure that the works stay flat, dry, and away from the harsh sun. “Paper cuts are surprisingly strong,” Pippa said, “but they can’t take much damage so they do have to be handled and stored safely, just like any paper.”

To see more of Pippa Dyrlaga’s work, follow her on Instagram.

 

 



Art Craft

Felted Wildlife Perch on Found Objects in Charming Sculptures by Simon Brown

July 11, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Simon Brown sources worn-out household tools like brushes and thimbles and turns them into miniature scenes for his felted wildlife. A short, stiff brush becomes a tree branch for a perching owl, and a dense hair brush with swirling bristles forms a meadow for two rabbits. Brown, who is based in Northumbria, United Kingdom, uses needle felting to create his realistic forest creatures. You can see more of his finished and in-progress work on Instagram. (via Bored Panda)

 

 



Design

Pleated Garments Inspired by Birds in Flight by Iris van Herpen

July 10, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Syntopia is the latest haute couture collection from Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen. The line of beautifully pleated garments explores the increasing convergence of our organic bodies and inorganic elements of technology, while also incorporating designs inspired by birds in flight.

“As a former dancer, the transformation within movement has hypnotized me,” explained van Herpen in a statement about Syntopia. “For this collection I looked closely at the minutiae of bird flight and the intricate echoing forms within avian motion.”

Transparent silk organza was pleated and liquid-coated for several pieces in the collection. This technique slowed down the movement of the garment, more closely imitating the flapping pattern of a bird’s wings. This was also the inspiration for a kinetic installation made in collaboration with Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta of Studio Drift (previously). The work, “In 20 Steps,” was formed from twenty delicate glass tubes which peaked and bowed above the runway in succession, moving in synchronicity each model.

Other dress forms were made from the sound wave patterns of specific birds. These noises were visualized and laser cut into mylar, black cotton, red organza and transparent black acrylic sheets and then layered like feathers to create a cohesive piece. You can see the entire range of avian-inspired clothing from van Herpen’s recent collection on her website and in the video below. (via Dezeen)

 

 



Art Illustration

Fantastical Swirls of Strange Hybrid Creatures Fill Vorja Sánchez’s New Illustrations

June 26, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Insomnia

Spanish illustrator Vorja Sánchez (previously) continues to plumb his imagination to create wildly original drawings and paintings. Constellations of real and invented wildlife, plants, and mysterious critters that seem to be a combination of the two, coexist in the artist’s colorful multi-media illustrations. Sánchez shares his work on Instagram and Facebook, where he also provides details on works for sale and updates on collaborative projects and murals.

Insomnia (detail)

Mediterranean Insects

Mediterranean Insects (detail)

Seaheart

Winter Stroll

Serenity of the Organic Chaos 

La Cosecha

(Untitled)

Invisible Boat (detail)

 

 



Art

Incredibly Intricate Glasswork by Janis Miltenberger is Inspired by Mythology

June 11, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Cynara’s Lush Gift, Photographer Peter Kuhnlein @ACME Creative, bee created by Wesley Fleming, 35”H x 11”L x 11”D. All images used with permission of the artist.

Glass artist Janis Miltenberger draws on the roles of mythology and storytelling as attempts to explain our experience of the world to build complex glass sculptures. Her work often takes the shape of recognizable objects, like human figures and chairs, which are then filled with incredible detail. The artist uses borosilicate glass, and enhanced with glass colors, gold luster, sandblasting, and oil paint. 

Miltenberger shares with Colossal that she was originally drawn to ceramics, and discovered glassblowing in college, where she apprenticed with Richard Marquis. Many years later, she was introduced to lampworking, which is her preferred technique today. She explains, “working alone with a torch was more personal and I don’t think I was quite as aware at that point how I needed that space set apart to focus and identify my ideas and voice.”

The artist’s most recent series, “Doctrine of Signatures,” is based on The Signature of All Things, a 17th century book by Jakob Boehme which detailed the commonly-held belief that the outward appearance of a plant reflected its medicinal value. She is currently working on a large installation that moves away from her decorative style. In fall 2018, Miltenberger will be teaching in Niijima, Japan, and her work will be shown at the Bellevue Art Museum in Washington state. (via Lustik)

Cynara’s Lush Gift (detail), Photographer Peter Kuhnlein @ACME Creative, bee created by Wesley Fleming, 35”H x 11”L x 11”D

Golden Memory, Photographer Peter Kuhnlein @ACME Creative, 35”H x 11”L x 11”D

Golden Memory (detail), Photographer Peter Kuhnlein @ACME Creative, 35”H x 11”L x 11”D

Doctrine of Signatures, Photographer Lynn Thompson, 38″H x 14″W x 13″D

Doctrine of Signatures (detail), Photographer Lynn Thompson, 38″H x 14″W x 13″D

Golden Tinged Hope, Photographer Lynn Thompson, 84”H x 24”L x 13”D

Golden Tinged Hope (detail), Photographer Lynn Thompson, 84”H x 24”L x 13”D

Dividing Line, wall piece, Photographer Peter Kuhnlein @ACME Creative, 34”H x 16”L x 4.5”D

Dividing Line (detail), wall piece, Photographer Peter Kuhnlein @ACME Creative, 34”H x 16”L x 4.5”D

Quiet Breath, wall piece, Photographer Peter Kuhnlein @ACME Creative, 30″H x 20″L x 4.5″D

Quiet Breath (detail), wall piece, Photographer Peter Kuhnlein @ACME Creative, 30″H x 20″L x 4.5″D

Quiet Breath (detail), wall piece, Photographer Peter Kuhnlein @ACME Creative, 30″H x 20″L x 4.5″D

 

 



Art

Fierce Feathered Portraits of Brooding Birds by Josie Morway

May 29, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Artist Josie Morway creates fierce portraits of wildlife set in abstracted apocalyptic environments and interspersed with geometric linework, colorful paint drips, and mysterious Latin text. Morway often features birds in her oil and enamel paintings, using the graceful shapes of the animals’ elongated necks and sweeping wings to draw the viewer’s eye around the artwork. Many of Morway’s works also interweave plants: ferns, succulents, and blossoming flowers emerge from around her animal subjects’ bodies.

The artist shares with Colossal that the Latin lettering that embellishes some of her paintings is heavily abstracted from old mottos. “I don’t mean for them to be read too literally, but rather hope they lend a certain feeling of portentousness to the pieces,” Morway explains. “I like referencing religious icon paintings and other forms of ‘serious’ historic painting, but using animals and birds in the place of saints, etc. I’m going for the feeling of narrative realism, but working with a narrative that’s mysterious, missing some information, open to the viewer’s interpretation.”

Morway will have a piece on view at Antler Gallery in Portland starting June 9, 2018, as part of PDX/LAX II, a collaborative exhibit with Los Angeles gallery Thinkspace Projects, as well as a two person show in October. You can also find her work in Australia at Beinart Gallery’s group show starting July 13. The artist shares updates on her work via Instagram.