When I was a child I lived in Southern India, in a town called Ootacamund. It was seven thousand feet above sea level, so we didn't get the vivid tropical birds you might think of when you hear the word India. My favourite bird was the Hoopoe, which, along with the glow worms, iridescent green beetles and marble poochies, I still miss.
All this fun making birds just based on the fabric to hand took a new direction when I finally got around to shortening the sleeves of a jacket I bought ages ago. It was of a very complex construction, with multiple seams around the elbows as well as a long snapped placket, so simply shortening at the cuff wouldn't really work. I had taken off the sleeve at the elbow meaning to shorten the piece above...and got stuck, leaving the job for months. Finally decided to just make a short sleeved jacket, and finished the hems, ironed the jacket, and hung it in the wardrobe. I was left with two half sleeves of a lovely fabric, dark chocolate on one side and a tawny amber on the other. Just the right colours for a hoopoe. The last bird I made was a little one from the fabric they make tennis balls from - Wimblebird, very apt given that Wimbledon is on. Time for something a bit more complex.
|crest - used seam turning to give change of colour at tip of feather|
|body - note spiky beak is part of continuous body wire|
|crest attached to body|
|stitch stuffing to wire|
|wings and head - on piece of fabric making use of placket|
I used the snapped cuff as the wings, so this bird can separate its wings...but not fly. I found a wonderful photograph of a hoopoe in full flight with wings curling flamboyantly around the body, crest fully erect, but decided that would be too complex for me to manage.
|sail cloth for white wing stripes|
|front of body and towards tail|
|added the eyes as the last action|
|don't know why these look different colours!|
This bird has a lot of attitude, so I don't mind the baggy undercarriage (I might tighten that up later) or the comment from a friend that the crest looked like it was made from an old gardening glove (but with too many fingers). It has joined the rest of my strange menagerie on the windowsill.