The other bird

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’sΒ  photographs of the original image in theΒ  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.

Yes, I thought. That’s much more like it. That’s what I meant.

And the first, original version:

Both 12″ square.

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.

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25 Responses to The other bird

  1. Anneliese says:

    I loved the first bird so much but now I can understand you: The second version is very much more like the cave bird. It conveys the feeling of the cave. But finally both versions are very beautiful. I am happy to have found your page through Nora.

  2. Gill says:

    I saw this first over at Nora’s and loved it!

  3. connie rose says:

    Beautiful and excellent!

  4. Flaming Nora says:

    Now I am glad it was my Mother and not me who had to make the decision! Beautiful.

  5. beautiful and so is the finished piecexx

  6. Amanda says:

    Both are lovely, Nora is a very lucky Lady.

  7. serenapotter says:


    stunning. i hope your teeth are feeling better. thinking of you.

  8. deb says:

    Both are wonderful! And what an interesting story. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Loralei says:

    Fantastic story, and beautiful art work, as always!! I had to giggle atNora’s description of her mum- I have moments like that as well!!

  10. Janice says:

    I loved reading both versions of this tale, Karen. And I love both versions of the bird. How strange that you realised ‘Nora’s’ mum was Nora’s mum!

  11. Penny Berens says:

    Good morning Karen. Love both! I just wanted to let you know that I’m just preparing a post awarding you the “Liebster Blog Award”. Hope you don’t mind.

  12. deb says:

    HI there! I found your blog thru Tanglewood Threads and i’ve so enjoyed all the bright colors
    you put in your quilts. So lovely!

  13. Rachel says:

    It’s always so thrilling when a design just comes together by itself!

  14. tina says:

    been to noras, that is wonderful, and I like yours best- it sugests moreabsolutely beautiful

  15. I have spent ages browsing your blog again. I so love it xxxx

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