It’s a question I’ve been asked on several occasions since I’ve been making my small embellished birds. So I’m going to tell you……
Let’s start with inspiration. When I first started making little birds, it was from the pattern by Ann Wood – she also has a facebook page. I never stop telling people about her patterns. They are incredibly well written with lots of photos and in some cases, like the little wire legs, video! I’ve only made her small birds but she now has quite a few patterns available for sale, including the very wonderful owls and adorable little mice. She’s one of the few textile artists who give permission for you to use her patterns to make things to sell. I still use her pattern when I make my little giveaway birds.
Go to her site, buy a pattern, you will NOT regret it.
There are many other great textile artists who make birds, Abigail Brown, Di Osman, Daisy Chain Creations and Made by Aimee among others. Emma Hall makes fabulous birds and patterns as well. Pop along and have a good look at their work.
Now, how do I make mine? I can’t really tell you. I worked on some basic patterns, the flamingo was my first, a very fluid but easy to recognise shape. I did lots of sketches, lots of rough pattern drafts until finally, I had a pattern. Even then, it didn’t turn out the way I expected because as I decorate my birds, I alter the shape of them with stitches, pulling them around, pushing them into place, adding wire. It’s trial and error. Every single bird is unique. I’ve made lots of robins and kingfishers and each one is better than the last because I’m improving them as I go. Look at the Crows below for example.
The one on the larger white skull was the very first, made over two years ago and the one on the right, last summer. I’ve even used the same fabric. But they are vastly different.
I won’t be making patterns of my birds to sell, I won’t be doing tutorials or ‘how to’ guides. Basically because even I don’t know how I do it most of the time. My birds are constantly evolving.
I like to think that part of the charm of my work, is that every single piece is different, it’s one of the reasons they are covered in hundreds if not thousands of stitches. I don’t want to turn out many, many identical pieces or in actual fact, see copies of my stuff, selfish I know. Sorry 😦
I’m more than happy to encourage and point you in the general direction of great pattern designers. I will always say the same thing….practise, practise, practise. We are ALL capable of being good at something, it’s just a question of finding out what it is and working at it. It’s important to take inspiration from others but to use it to find your own way.
Get out there, do your thing, make it yours, make it awesome!