Monday, 9 May 2011

Bird Shrines

I have signed up for a Bird Shrine Matchbox Swap over at Milliande's and hosted by the lovely Palma.
All participants make three decorated matchboxes (either we make our own boxes or use existing matchboxes) which will get swapped on May 18th.
Here are my boxes:


Spoiler Alert: If you are participating in the Bird Shrine Swap  you may not want to read the rest of this post or see the following photos as I show what is inside the boxes.

I really enjoyed working on my boxes and the hours of fiddling around with scraps, Air Dry clay, wire, beads, needle felting, Mica etc. Oh the joy, when things I have been keeping for ages suddenly fit into a project! An example is the paper cast birds hiding inside the largest of my bird shrines. I fashioned them into a little bird mobile suspended from an over sized bottle cap (another one of my long term stash items).

I made a second mobile, this one is for my godchild in Switzerland

"Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." - Henry Van Dyke

The second Bird Shrine is more about caged birds and has an old illustration of Cockatoos on the lid. I used my homemade onion skin ink to further enhance the vintage look.

Here's the inside of this box:

The little bird I made with air dry clay, in the background is another old Cockatoo illustration, some pink dyed Emu feathers and some vintage fabric covered buttons. 

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

- Maya Angelou

The smallest of the Bird shrines is covered with an old German text about parrots. The top has different bird stamps glued to it and the words "Bird Wisdom" stamped on it. In the needle felted nest sits a freshly hatched chick. Inside the drawer are several scrolls of bird wisdom.

My new Motto is: Letting go.
I feel I can no longer hold on to things but rather if a bead or trinket or fabric matches or fits into an art project I use it, knowing that new things will find their way into my stash to be used at some future time.
As artists we are like a vessel through which inspiration flows; we add to it of ourselves: emotionally, physically and materially until our roots are entwined with the piece we have created and our art has become an extension of ourselves. As we let go of a piece we have created our roots gets severed and it hurts and I think that is how it should be. It means we have poured ourselves generously into our art.

I hope whatever you do you will pour generously of your Self into it.

Until next time...

"There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before." - Robert Lynd


  1. Mon they are superb!
    Thankyou so much for sharing your work and your thoughts <3


  2. Wow Monika - this is so cool! Your art and words touch me this morning - will be popping back for more!

  3. Hi Monika,
    your bird boxes are soooooo lovely and I enjoyed reading your thoughts.


    These are beautiful and I love how you always pay attention to little details. Wish I was getting one of these!

  5. Love your bird boxes Monika. Your art never ceases to amaze me! The last part of this post REALLY hit home with me. I have hadt the bad habit of holding onto too much, especially art supplies. Lately, I'm really trying to let go and use what I have. I'm getting better at it! In the end, it's still really hard to let go of the end piece which becomes a part of us.

  6. Just found your blog via Tin Can Tart, but I know you from Milliande. Love your bird shrines, just delightful, your partner will be so pleased to recieve them I'm sure :)

  7. Thank you all so much for your comments!Your feedback means alot to me!:-)

  8. thanks for popping over to my blog Monika and leaving such a lovely comment. It is so hard letting the journals go and knowing you'll, in all probability, never see them again. Loved working in yours. Have a great day, love Sharon x

  9. these are amazing..I got mine off Palma today and its so lovely to get excellent art in the post. You know I always thought you were from Germany not Australia..probably because of your surname!

  10. One of my favorite posts. The poems are wonderful and the art is too. Makes we want to reach out and touch.