Monday, June 10, 2013

Branwen the Shapeshifter

     Branwen may mean "Blessed Raven" in Gaelic, but Branwen the Faery is a fan of the magically iridescent bird, the grackle. As anyone knows, I'm a huge bird lover. Whether we're talking about my flock of parrots here in my home or of the birds at my feeders or the birds I spot on my hikes, I'm happy as long as I'm talking about them.
In folklore, faeries and birds are closely linked in many tales. There are stories of faeries who only appear to mortals as birds, stories of faeries that morph in and out of bird forms and stories of faeries riding on birds. They make great subject matter. I had sculpted Shaelin's New Nest back in 2011 in which the faery was kicking a little sparrow out of its nest. And before Branwen, I finished and sold Alula the Hummingbird Rider. It seemed only fitting that I create a faery shapeshifter with her grackle regalia.
Branwen started this time as a sketch I made in my journal... rare for me to try to conceptualize on paper first really. Did it help? A little. It was hard to imagine what her arms would be doing if she was kneeling or how her left foot would be positioned underneath her or where her ankle would move to in that position. Odd stuff a faery sculptor needs to know, you know?
Branwen's necklace is really one of my own that I chopped up just for her! Lucky faery.
She kneels at just about 4 inches tall. Her wings are sculpted of clay then blend down into faery wings. All her feathers are black but shine with iridescent shimmer of blues, browns, greens and violet like a grackle. Her helmet is a stylized grackle's head (stylized because grackles do not have long plumes off the backs of their heads like her helmet). Her dress is made entirely of clay. The skirt blends upward into a "downy" top of clay that is blended and streaked into her flesh to make it appear one with her form (which I suppose, technically, it is!)