Creating my first bird from scratch

Creating Cynthia

A year ago, a couple of friends talked me into applying to participate in a fundraiser for Issaquah’s artEAST Art Center.

I decided to accept the challenge and submitted samples of my work. Then I waited and waited — and waited — to see if I was going to be one of 20 artists to create a heron for the artEast Art Center Rookery project.


I was pretty excited when I was notified that I had been accepted so I went down to the gallery and picked up my rock base along with a flat wire heron that was to provide me with inspiration.

I sat and looked at the piece of rock and the bird — and nothing happened.

I spent months looking at my inspiration.

Friends told me, “Oh you should create a bird out of nuts and bolts.” So I picked up a bunch of nuts and bolts — still nothing.

I wanted to do something special. After all, this bird would be seen by real artists that reside in my community and I was worried that since this was my first bird it might just not be so wonderful.

I finally decided to use coat hangers. That idea was short lived.

I knew I wanted some type of wire but copper is expensive — so back to the drawing board.

I was frustrated and wanted to give up but I knew that if I did not produce a heron I would never be able to walk around downtown Issaquah again.

That is about the time I got a phone call from a friend. He had found the perfect wire for my bird! Only one catch, it belonged to his dad.


I was able to make my friend’s dad an acceptable offer and I got a huge roll of copper coated steel for a really good price.

Next was the job of cleaning it! It was old telephone wire and was covered with a nasty black rubber material.

Time was running out. Herons were being delivered to the gallery weekly and they were all amazing!

I was feeling crazy for even trying to compete with such amazing work!

The stress of making a bird for an art gallery fundraiser was a driving force.

I was driving back and forth from Issaquah to Prosser each weekend to work on the bird in private.

I was worried about getting him done in time and then there was the daunting fear of what if no one bought him!

I welded outside in the carport until it got so dark I could not see what I was doing. The 100 plus temperatures during the day made wearing leathers unbearable. I only had a few weeks left to make the deadline!


As soon as Sundance was finished, I called up my friend CD and said, “He is done — 170 hours of grinding, welding and scraping nasty rubber goo off the metal to create a bird for the local auction!”

She said,” Bring him by to watch the sunset!”



Photos by CDStuder Photography


ArtEAST Art Center is presenting its Heron Rookery Project 2013 at an opening reception on August 1, 2013, 6-8 pm. The show will continue from August 1-25, 2013.

Contrary to my fears, Sundance, the heron, sold at the 2012 auction. He loves his new private life and won’t be attending this year’s show.

Special thanks

Greg Bartol aka  the real Bird Man, thanks for saying you  should make a bird…  No really here is the paper work!

Denny Croston aka  Junk yard art  Icon of Issaquah,  for saying make a bird , and  for supplying the  neck and  for giving me a reference.

Brad Isley for helping me  find what I needed and for all the  hours of help you gave me!  I knew what I wanted to do and you  told me how to make it work! 

My family, thank you for  not complaining about all the hours I was  spending in Prosser with not much to  show for it besides  burn holes in my clothes. 

I am grateful for my new friend CDStuder Photography for all the  hours  she spent taking photos of my  processes! Without her Sundance would  be  just a memory. He sold the  day I dropped him off! 




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