Don’t Be Like the Hummingbird

by noelyovovich on August 14, 2010

View from my window

View from my window

I’ve just moved to a house in the woods, and I finally have a yard, windows, natural light, and a view, after nearly 30 years in what was supposed to be a 5-year interim house that was so dark inside, you had to turn on a light to read, even on the brightest afternoon of the year.

So I have set up three bird feeders with different foods, including a nectar station for hummingbirds. There is one tiny female ruby-throated hummingbird who not only feeds at the station– she chases all the other birds away from all three feeders! I just watched her chase off my first cardinal, and a couple days ago, I almost got to watch a goldfinch, until she attacked it.

So I just moved the nectar feeder about 10′ farther from the other feeders (it took her maybe 5 minutes to find it)

I’m tempted to draw a life-lesson from this. In the immortal words of Rodney King, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

I’m thinking of the all-too-frequent dismissiveness and disdain shown by metalsmiths for beaders or metal clay artists, fabricators for casters, art jewelers for traditional benchmen, and so on. We all want to chase each other away from the feeder (marketplace), but in fact, not only is there enough room for everybody, the more of these different disciplines you can bring together, the more unique your work will be, right?

OK, I really just wanted an excuse to tell somebody about this feisty little bully of a hummingbird.

But I’ll take the notion a step further and mention that I spent a week and over $1000 taking a fusing workshop with Marne Ryan at the Revere Academy a few years ago, and learned to make really beautiful textures by fusing layers of sterling. It takes constant practice to stay good at it– it is pretty challenging to do.

Or, you can roll out a sheet of silver clay, cut up some sheet-type (I much prefer the PMC stuff over the Art Clay, though in the other clays I think it’s pretty much Coke/Pepsi) and layer it in a few moments with a little water, and achieve kind of of the same look.

The other problem with the fusing was, Marne is so good at it, and uses it so effectively, that no matter how hard I tried, whatever I made pretty much looked like a Marne Ryan rip-off. Only not as good, mostly. So I’ve pretty much let it go. Except in metal clay.

A few examples

A few examples

So, the ways of working are all good– it’s all in how it’s done. (How like life.) I’m saying, mix it up, there’s room for everybody.

Even that beautiful little jewel of a hummingbird doesn’t have the right to chase off all the chickadees.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Louie January 14, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Excellent point. I am about to spend a thousand dollars on a chasing and repousee class – in Canada – and my fear is that I’ll look like a pitifyl plagerizer………. but, there must be something I can learn. But, 1,000 – I could get a LOT of PMC for 1,000, eh?

Judy in Kansas August 18, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Noel, your new view must be very liberating – coming from the dark into the light. We have 3 hummer feeders up, separated by some distance. I thought each feeder would have a single “guard.” Not so. Sometimes a single hummer guards two feeders… and what a busy hummer that is! Throw an oriole into the mix, and the hummer has to give way. Bird watching is almost as fascinating as torch watching… yes?
Judy in Kansas

Jeff Demand August 17, 2010 at 3:04 pm

The disdain you speak of I suspect is the result an overly inflated ego coupled with a very limited skill set. I’ll use (or learn) any technique to get the results I want, that is all that matters. So far no beading, I watched a lady in town giving a demo, she was really good, made me want to crawl under a rock and hide. Mud clay and I have never gotten along unless wearable art and no finished pieces count.
Final results are all that matter, not what one does in the privacy of their studio.

Vicki Kataja August 16, 2010 at 11:11 pm

I took a class using sheet PMC over a fine silver wire frame. I love the resulting pendant, and my wishlist has a kiln on it so I can do more! That’s a beautiful view you have there.


Patricia Enlow August 16, 2010 at 6:28 am

I find it very hard to stay with one medium. Metals & gemstones are my first love, but aren’t those lampwork and swarovski beads so beautiful? Wow what at view from that window! Congrats, Noel!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

WordPress Admin