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Little Bird in all her glory.

Just occasionally, something happens in life that is so profound that it strips away the superfluous and reveals the truth behind the stories we tell ourselves on a daily basis. Last night myself and a few other students had the privilege of attending the launch of a book.

Marcas Mac an Tuairneir was the author, (Facebook link) Little Bird the poem and Lus na Tuise (Lavender in English) was the book.

As part of our Collaborative Practice module for our degree, I was able to join in with a second collaboration and we were asked to respond to a poem creatively. I chose Little Bird. Many of the poems resonated with me, but Little Bird flew into heart and began to sing.

I began the process of creating my sculpture by sitting with the poem….not for as long as I would have liked; there were deadlines to consider! Feeling wistful, moved to tears and being empowered by the depth of feeling rising from the words on the page, abstract images  of birds, leaves, and Oaks filled my mind. I could smell the earth beneath my feet, and sense the strength of female energy emanating from deep within its meaning. Initially I had intended to ask the author what his story was behind Little Bird, but I then realised that this may colour my experience of it and ultimately change the visual impact of my work. So, even though I had suggested I would be back in touch with him with follow up questions, I decided to “go it alone”.

As I journey through this degree, I become more aware of how many transferable skills we acquire through our lives. I have had many creative jobs, worked with many different groups of people and learnt to write reflectively when I was an addiction counsellor. Little did I know then that so much of what I do now is based upon those seemingly inconsequential experiences. Most recently, I began a Creative Metalwork course; one evening a week after my only full day at college. It’s in the same building, being run by Inverness College (Course details), but it means that I get to the campus at 8am and leave at 9pm. An exacting day!

Whinging aside, I make two prototypes of the sketched image of Little Bird and embark upon my metal phase as detailed in a previous blog: Metal is not wood! The culmination of my efforts produce a piece that I truly love.

I called my daughter Baby Bird from the day she was born. My maiden name was Burdis, and so she could only be my Baby Bird; feeping at all hours to be fed and almost 22 years later, still only partly fledged…..”Little Bird” spoke of this Mother energy. Strength and courage handed on through the female line from the very earth itself. Nature and nurture entwined and indistinguishable from each other. I have the very great honour of being surrounded by woman that are centred and strong in their own power. My very own Mam; a woman who has consistently and unquestioningly supported, loved and guided me. A surrogate Mam, Katie, who has offered inspiration, love and laughter on many a dark day. My sisters Carole, Pam and Joan and my closest friends, Fuggo, Sheila, Vicky and Elly who each in turn and in their own sometimes very daft ways, have helped me to become a me that I quite like. So, to all these women, I doff my cap, salute your Spirit and thank which ever star shone on you for sending you my way.

To my Baby Bird, through tears yet again, I borrow the words from the poem and say to you:

“We are nought but the past while you signify what’s still to come. The Sun, the Moon, your own loyal legion, Little Bird.” I love you.

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