Long before birds became such a Portlandia thing, I was focusing on them in my artwork. The original emphasis was not jewelry at all, but rather a small art journal that I used in a meditative fashion while traveling back and forth to visit my dying mother. As they have for eternity, the ability of birds to launch themselves into the heavens has meant they are associated with the spirits of the departed, and that connection was my interest.
I prepped a handmade journal from watercolor paper, gave all the pages a wash of color, then tucked the journal and a few art supplies into a small travel bag. I collaged, painted, and hand-lettered my favorite quotes about birds onto the pages. It was a way to find calmness and peace in a difficult situation. You can page through the entire journal by clicking on the image above. In actuality, I've made several of these books, including a more recent in-progress version for my personal aspirations.
Then I began to incorporate small sketches into my jewelry, using them to make custom texture plates. Thus the Flock collection was born, with each different texture being given its own avian name, from canaries to wrens. When I attended wholesale shows, these designs were popular gift items, and I still market them so directly from my Etsy website.
Recently, I'm revisiting the drawer full of textures, making some new pieces with textures that got underutilized, such as my robin and nest designs. I think it's time to fill the shop with a wider flock in birds, as a run up to the holiday gift-giving season.