Friday, June 29, 2018

Birds and Blocks

It's summer. I'm watching the Ospreys on the sfbayospreys.org web camera again. This year I tuned in early enough to see the eggs being laid (end of March) and the chicks hatching out (early May). Well, I didn't get to see the actual hatching myself, but I watched the video after I missed it. I like watching the birds' behavior, how the parents teach the young to eat and then to fly and then, off camera, how to fish for themselves. This year, the resident birds Rosie and Richmond had three eggs and three chicks, who are now old enough to fledge. They have been practicing "getting air" by flapping mightily and sometimes catching the wind that is ever present down at Point Potrero in Richmond, CA. They were banded a week ago so they can be studied, and the bands may even help save their lives or get them cared for in the future. It won't be long before they can really fly.

It was inevitable that I would make more work about them. Over the next couple of months I will be carving a three-foot square piece of linoleum for SF Center for the Book's Roadworks event, a street fair where Chad Johnson, the studio manager, will expertly ink it up, place the paper over it, and an actual steamroller will drive over it and print it (you can see past events here). My drawing, based on Richmond the Osprey on a nest of books, was accepted for this fundraiser, Sunday, September 23, 2018.

Meanwhile, it seemed like a good idea to upgrade my relief carving tools. I didn't want to make a major investment, but sometimes the little Speedball tools get rather dull. I think I found a compromise with these Power Grip Carving Tools, Seven Piece Set from Japan.

With the small u-gouge, you can comfortably hold it like a pencil and get good control over your line.

With the larger, flatter U, you can rest the base in your palm for more pressure. I can clear out larger areas faster and better with this one.

These fit my small hands very well, and they are a pleasure to use. I did a trial run and made a print, "The Osprey Chicks Are Looking Up." I'll post it to my website and to nevermindtheart on Etsy soon. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Golden Gate Audubon Society, which runs the cam. Watching the cam brings joy to many people around the world. Several (that I know of) who are somewhat housebound. The Live Chat community even has local meet-ups, and many people have made new friends.


Now, on to the gigantic one! 

Still, I watch. In addition to the sticks and branches, the birds, primarily Richmond, bring in plastic and trash. We can really see the human impact on them, and we hope there isn't any baling twine, fishing line, or netting lying around or washing up onshore. There has been a plastic bag flapping around in the nest, and one of the chicks got her leg caught in the ribbon that was attached to it. It is disconcerting. And these are just the birds we can see.

Everything we do has the potential to radiate outward. Our daily choices both determine our world and have the power and ability to carve out the kind of world we want to live in.

(photo of Richmond by Alisa at the nest)


(photos and post from last year here.)

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