“Crested Longtail”, hammer-formed brass bird sculpture

by shelbyvision on October 6, 2010

Sometimes I spend months or even years working on an idea, and other times I get a sudden inspiration that I have to turn into three-dimensional reality immediately. This piece was one of those sudden inspirations. I had a scrap of silver left over from my “Silver Streak” project that looked to me like some kind of exotic bird. The moment I saw it, I thought “That’s my next piece”.


The difficult part of making this piece was the the neck and head, getting that extreme angle from the main axis. The crest stretched the metal to the limit. The forming processes shown in this next group of pictures are just some of the many stages between annealings to get the head formed.

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Once the head has attained the desired shape, the rest is just a matter of rounding out the body and closing up the form. The next six pictures show 1. closing up the beak, 2. giving form to the back,
3. rounding out the sides, 4. closing up the tail, 5. closing up the throat area, 6. closing up the belly.

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The next picture shows the seam silver soldered. Then what I consider the fun part, planishing. I found that the pair of thick winter work gloves on my leg make a perfect base for this. This is a process that could go on infinitely, according to how close to perfection I feel like getting. The next picture shows the bird having been silver-soldered to the base. The base is a 30″ piece of 1/4″ brass rod. I decided to keep the base as simple as possible, since the bird is somewhat ornate in form.

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Finally, all finished, two different views.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

shelbyvision November 13, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Thanks Michael.

Michael Firstman@ Mig Welder November 11, 2010 at 10:29 am

I love your almost step-by-step breakdown of your process. The photos are a great help of course in further understanding the whole thing. That bird is so elegant in it’s apparent simplicity. Very talented work.

shelbyvision October 17, 2010 at 7:04 am

Thanks Jamie, Ruta, Jeremy.

Jeremy Maronpot October 16, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Love the process pictures! it’s always interesting to see how things come together

Jeremy Maronpot October 16, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Love the process pictures! it’s always interesting to see how things come together

Ruta October 9, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Brilliant work again – as usual! :>) Thanks for sharing.

Jamie Hall October 9, 2010 at 9:33 am

That’s a very elegant looking bird. Thanks for posting the pictures – that’s really made me think more about the possibilities of raising.

shelbyvision October 8, 2010 at 6:33 am

Thanks, Virginia, Penny, Geni.

Geni Kos October 7, 2010 at 10:29 am

Wow that’s stunning! Very inspirational!

Penny Evans October 7, 2010 at 4:00 am

Wow, this is gorgeous, and your description of how you made it!! Definitely something to aspire to!!! Thanks,

Virginia Vivier October 6, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

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