In came the phone call about if we could produce 2 or 3 small fantails for the client to place around their new garden here and there. What followed was one attempt at making a SMALL fantail ( the size of a small rugby ball ) This was frustrating as it became evident that the arc welding, and the scale of the rustic re cycling materials on hand did not suit making a small sculpture. Next was consideration about if I should get serious again about smaller works and produce 3 flitting fantails in annealed snipped brass & copper sheet using silver welding rods and oxy acetylene.
This was the normal way I began sculpture back in the late 80s, continuing on right up until after the year 2000 - producing a range of different style of works, both large and small - including jewellery, with an exhibition at Fingers Gallery Auckland.
Well - we didn’t go back down this road, as I was now so used to doing brutally efficient arc welding where you can hold a chunk of steel with one hand and blast through the rust, arc welding it on fast, creating 3 dimensional work with less fuss and more boldness.
And so up grew this beautiful Piwakawaka that was effortlessly perched on a near vertical wand, its one wing out more than the other holding its stance and its head tilted to the vertical slightly engaging with you in the way they do - her big fantail flared out like a deck of cards.
It was so interesting having to think like this little darling, and the realisation you had to pay huge amounts of attention to the shape and details of her tail.
When this was complete, the rest of the bird flowed along easily. I didn’t have to work too long on her talons , ankles and legs, as 2 small size Jimmy Bars seemed to do the job just fine and the Piwakawaka looked just so stoked to have her legs made from these high tension basic tools.