Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Feathering My Nest

Last Christmas season I had two delightful guests for tea--Emily Sutton and her friend and fellow artist, Mark Hearld. I first read about Emily's work in World of Interiors. (Oh, the power of magazines.) Having promised myself that the shelves and tabletops in my homes were laden to capacity, I vowed not to add anything else...well, at least for the moment. It was a good resolution, but it didn't last long when I saw Emily's incredible birds of Britain. I was able to purchase the very last one that the gallery had available.

Emily is Anglo-American. Her mom is from New Jersey. She has not been out of art school for very long, but her work literally flies out of the galleries where she has shown. Her latest show, which ended in June, was at Godfrey & Watt in York, near where Emily lives. Inspired by the decoys she saw when on a visit to The American Folk Art Museum in New York, she set to work to create her masterpieces, which are three dimensional and incorporate both painting and stitchery. It was the latter that just blew me away.

After my first purchase, I added an English robin on a branch. It was my luck that Alex at Godfrey & Watt had chosen my robin for the only Christmas card that the gallery produced. I ordered bundles and got to work sending out my robin with good cheer in my heart. As you can see, an English robin is distinctive and not a carbon copy of the ones we see bobbing around in our backyards.

Both Emily and Mark are interested in collections--and so I was thrilled to think that they would visit me when my Christmas tree was up and trimmed to the brim with the ornaments I've collected over the years. Many memories from my Victoria days. All the while I was decorating, which was about a two-day affair, I kept thinking how happy I was to share some favorite things with my visitors from England. But, at about five in the morning on the day of their arrival, the tree decided it had enough of standing in my living room and began to lean forward. I heard a little noise and suspected that resident cat had found an object of her affection. When I investigated, I found a Christmas tree within minutes of hitting the deck. My husband and I worked as fast as we could to save the ornaments. I didn't lose anything very precious.

However, my family prohibited me from trying to redo the tree and trust it's wayward ways. So when Emily and Mark arrived, the promised display had become an array of lights and Emily's two birds perched quite nicely on several strong branches.

It looked quite nice, actually. We had a lovely time. Enjoy Emily's birds online. I can assure you that her work is incomparable.

My love of bird art has also taken me to Screech Owl Design. They make jolly cards. (Did I catch a bit of the Brit from Emily and Mark?) One of my favorites is of a robin perched on a spout. There is another very friendly one of a heron on an elegant chair. When you order from Screech Owl, George sends a personal thank you. Imagine that?


  1. Oh, thank you for sharing your interest about birdies and bird art.

    I love birds and watching them. We had a pair of tree swallows make their home this past spring in our little backyard. And it was such a treat to see them at every stage of the their spring nesting rituals.

  2. Deeeelightful! I went to Emily's site and had a marvelous time gazing at her terrific illustrated journal. Some of her landscapes and cathedral/town drawings put me in mind of Ludwig Bemelmans, of Madeline fame. I hope she publishes a sketchbook soon...and I definitly think she needs to do a sculptural mockingbird or jay--2 of my feathered favorites. Thanks for sharing this lovely post, Nancy. I think you've warmed the heart of many a bird-lover, like me!

    Karen Marline, from her nest in Rochester

  3. Oh Nancy- your interests always are things that I love too! I collect decorative and Antique Hendrix birdcages-plus I also love Bird Art and Birds! I have two "real" birds, "Canary's" ,& I find so much joy in their beautiful song!

    For the decorative Birdcages-{some very large and also smaller}-all very ornate and or Antique or rare-- I use the faux feather birds in a few of them , and burn candles in a couple of them, for when I am displaying them for photos-& just to relax & watch the shadows that they create in a room. In my largest most prized mahogany 6ft tall decorative cage ,I added a couple larger resin gold colored peacocks in it- & in another designer decorative large one- I have been adding a few ceramic birds too. {an aviary of sorts}- I wish I could find the unique Robins,like the ones you speak of here for an Antique Folk- Art style cage I have,-but it appears that they are sold out.

    Your blog entries and all you write, seems to always inspire ! Thanks so very much for having all of the things I love in your magazines and books & now on your most appreciated Blog.-Love,Valery Schweitzer

  4. What a wonderful post! I enjoyed reading about the Christmas tree escapade, and I loved visiting that web site and seeing all the lovely images. I adore that card design with the robin perched on the spout of a tea kettle. Very clever!

    And to think, I had mourned the fact we would never again benefit from your tasteful recommendations! How happy I am that you're back!

  5. I think you would also like one of my favorite artists, Poppy Melia.