I am always attracted to bird imagery, and have even considered a bird tattoo for some time (although Portlandia has made me think twice)

  so when my friends Inga and Andy Hamilton asked me to participate in an arts experiment and traveling exhibit called “Elementals Birds” there was no question. Elementals is an experimental show conceived by Inga, aka Rockpool Candy, and Andy, aka MyTarPit, to see if artists, printmakers and craftspeople can physically embody feelings of peace, harmony and goodwill in their artwork and tangibly affect the environment in which it’s shown. They’ve invited artists from all over the world to participate, and have arranged for the “flock” to migrate from the Richard F. Brush Gallery in Canton, NY to the R-Space Gallery in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, UK, to the Wharepuke Print Studio in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

My elemental, titled “Screech owl elemental” was pulled from an old drawing in a sketch book, along with lots of other photos, clippings and drawings of birds. I’m sure the task of embodying peace and tangibly effecting the environment was interpreted in many different ways by the many talented artists who took up the challenge. I sought to make something that could give something to it’s viewers–which brought me to the question, what would I want? With birds as our jumping off point, I immediately thought of animal totems, which are symbolic objects used by a person to get in touch with specific qualities found within an animal which the person needs, connects with, or feels a deep affinity toward. I am hungry for deeper connections in my life to God, to the land, it’s rhythms and creatures, and the many mysteries we encounter. The owl is a feminine symbol, representing magic, wisdom, intuition, and courageousness. She’s also quite a beautiful creature. That’s why I chose her.

I made this bird using woodcut and monotype printmaking. I began each carving session by burning a sage bundle that I keep in my studio, trying to focus on imparting these positive and powerful wishes on my work. I was reminded to loosen up, and tried to look at obstacles along the way (like registration problems!) as opportunities for growth. This little bird provided a playful challenge for me as my first 3-D print, and I’m excited to try more of them in the future. Even though she’ll be part of a large flock, I hope that folks will lock eyes with my screech owl as they pass through the exhibit, and that she will stir something deep down inside them.

You can read about the project here: http://www.ingahamilton.com/elementals.html




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