Before you do anything else, you need to go and read Nora’s account of the original bird: click HERE.
I don’t usually say much about commissioned work here. For one thing, I hardly ever do commission work, and for another, I tend to think of a commissioned piece as the result of a private conversation, something very personal both to me and to the recipient. In this case, Nora wrote about this particular experience far better than I ever could.
I actually made two versions of the fish-eating bird – and if you look closely at Nora’s photographs of the original image in the rock, you can see quite clearly that it’s a bird with a fish in its beak, not just a long-beaked bird. The first one practically made itself; it felt as if I just carried the materials. It was quite magical. But I looked at it at the end and thought, ‘no, no, that’s not what I meant at all.’ So I made a second bird, the same size but slightly more abstract.
So when it came to offering the finished version to the client, of course I showed her both. And, of course, it turned out that the one that had ‘made itself’ in the first place (without me interfering in it!) was the one that had always been meant for her. And the other one – meant for me, it would seem. A bird with a fish in its beak is universally a symbol for good fortune.