Nuthatch & Chickadee. Handmade wall art to adorn our bedroom wall along with my previously made song sparrow. All cut by hand with a scrollsaw and chisel from a variety of wood species. No paint or stain. See my previous posts for more details and the story highlight on my profile, which documented the whole process.
May I present “Freddie Chirpury” the song sparrow! Named by @tam_a_ryn, he’s ruled our backyard since we moved in 4 yrs ago. He lives a hard life. He’s been forced to raise many a brown-headed cowbird (obligate brood parasites). We’ve seen his chicks brutally snatched by our resident blue jay Hunter multiple times. He always looks rough and disheveled by the end of the summer from trying to raise 3 broods of chicks. One year he tried to do it alone after his lady disappeared. He only successfully fledged the cowbird that time, who was twice his size.
But despite the failures, loss, and constant work just to survive, he keeps on keeping on, singing right outside our bedroom all year, year after year.
Unlike the ubiquitous and non-native house sparrows, song sparrow couples are solitary and tend to pick a territory and stick to it, defending and constantly shouting their ownership (the male anyway). This is their “song,” a repeating glorious aria declaring “this is mine, bitch, so stay the hell out!” Of course there’s some love song mixed in there as well.
One fascinating fact I learned from watching them: once they’ve begun nesting/chick-rearing, the male and female make constant little “Marco”… “Polo” squeaks, basically pinging each other to maintain contact and location awareness. “Right here. All is well,” back and forth all day every day. I’ve also learned that their voices are distinct. The others in the neighborhood just sound different to me now.
Based on a beautiful photo by Jared McCall @jaredm871@ingrainednaturecreations, I initially designed it to have branches and a full background. But this clef design popped into my head. My wife’s excitement when I showed her cemented it, and I ditched the old version. Built from 11 species, all cut on #scrollsaw: black walnut, Peruvian walnut, spalted maple, curly maple, tree of Heaven, wenge, sapele, black locust, holly, ebony, with a cherry clef.
“Squirrel Bill” is complete! As most of you who’ve seen any of my stories over the past year know, my wife spent the pandemic becoming a Disney princess. It took a while but she eventually got the squirrels eating out of her hands. We’ve fed them an absolutely ridiculous amount of walnuts and pecans over the past 18 months, so we have quite the healthy population in our backyard now. Obviously it was time to make a wooden squirrel intarsia piece. Squirrel Bill (who she named after our Pittsburgh neighborhood of “Squirrel Hill”) is constructed of mostly wood I scavenged myself from Squirrel Hill. Some elm, crab apple, spalted holly, walnut, and a teensy bit of ebony and mahogany (neither from here of course).
I grew up with red foxes on our property in Arkansas and have loved them ever since, seeing many over the years in NC and now PA. A family of them, including two new kits, live up the road in a nearby cemetery; they served as the impetus to create this piece, which I’ve had bouncing around in my head ever since I picked up this amazing orange wood.
Jumping spiders are my favorite spiders. They’re cute, they’re floofy, they’re incredibly observant, and their athletic abilities are astounding. They also dance to woo the ladies like I never could.
The name comes from their family name “Salticidae.”
All pieces cut on scrollsaw, in this case exclusively using my scrap wood collection. Species: maple (regular and curly), walnut, mesquite, ipe, katalox, ebony, holly, cherry, & rubber tree (reclaimed from a cheap old jewelry box).
The main image upon which this is roughly based is “Come Closer, Jumping Spider” by Diaz Gio (@godzaid@giochimitsu), who has some amazing photography and an art account).