I've been head over heels for nests for a few years now. They're amazing artworks which defy all the rules. Some a big and messy, others dainty and so delicate you wonder how they work at all. A bird can build a nest without damaging the environment it does it in. That's more than I can say for most humans. The love affair with nests actually started with a concept that hit me one day. For me, nests have come to represent society and my first ICE collage series "Society is a Nest" was born. My theory is that a well constructed nest will support the birds (people) and will be a place of love, hope, security and warmth. A badly contsructed nest will fail the birds. Baby birds will neglected and struggle to fly high enough to reach their full potential. The 'nest' is of course our home, our communities, schools, churches and governments. I came to this conclusion after watching a movie called "Out of the Blue" which is amount a mass murder that took place in NZ. The gunman was David Grey and although what he did was horrendous I also thought that society had let him down. People knew that David Grey was mentally unwell yet failed to helped. He was able to arm himself and spend a long time obsessed with weponary and warfare of all kinds. What if someone had helped? If that nest had been built stronger? I am not suggesting that the community he took out his rage on deserved what happened but I do think that this attack was preventable and not so "out of the blue."
So that's where it started and since then I've explored them in many ways, their structure, their beauty, shapes and visual appeal. They truly are a creation of beauty and it's sheer joy for me when I find one or add another to my collection.
I've photographed them...
Above photo is from a post called "I'm in nest loving heaven" posted October 17 2008.
The photo below is a different nest and was posted towards the end of 2009. It's a dodgy photo because I was shooting blind, perched litteraly up a tree, holding my camera strap in my teeth and holding the body of my camera over the nest- completely unable to see the inside of the nest! I was so excited I was trembling! The skinny little branch was too...
Turned photos into collage images...
Above image was originally posted in a post titled "portrait of a nest" in Jan 2009.These nests featured quite a lot in my 2009 ICE series. One of the collages I used the photo in is below. It was titled " Breeding birds"
Layered collages like nests...
This nest type layering really appeals to me!
Added them to AB pages...
One of my earlier attempts at Altered Books. I remember being pretty chuffed with this when I did this almost exactly a year ago. I feel like I've come a long way since then:)
Made lino cuts of nests to create more imagery for collage...
These were created in 2007. Seeing them again now makes me want to go and create a new one! I think the reason I stopped was because they had no purpose, I made them and they sat around my house. Maybe I need to start making assembleges or to start attending markets.....
I've even tried making a dye from a nest and adding bits of nest to handmade paper.
and using the contents of a nest to make a fabric collage of sorts...
It's been a journey of joy and discovery for me and I am sure there are yet more way to explore nests, the concept of "Society is a Nest" and of course more nests to find!
The last words belong to NZ poet Ruth Dallas who wrote this poem about...nests! Of course!
How like shells they are, these deserted rain-bleached nests
half filled with small black leaves;
the green leaves that summer- long sang like waves
have left the now as shells on sand
are left for anyone to find.
To lift them from the tangled boughs
of theses deep sleeping hawthorn trees
would be like taking shells away
from all that gives them colour-
sea, sun and sand.
How sad they seem
and faded when you take them home.
Marvellously as they are made
with moulded earth and moss inlaid
with woven bark and straws and
warm with thistle-down
half their charm- even when the trees are bare
is in them being where they are.