Male Quail was made as a private commission for one of my Disney friends as a Christmas gift for her husband. I instantly related to her request for a California Quail since they lived in the wooded areas of my old neighborhood in Valencia, CA. I loved seeing these funny little birds when my husband and I went walking through the natural canyon lands. They have their own rhythms of movement, bouncy and quick, with the head feather overlapping but also able to be controlled independently with tiny muscles in their skin. It is my nature to find humor in just about everything, and these quail were a delight to watch.
This sculpture was also a delight to carve. I worked as a Disney Animator for 20 years and was accustomed to acting out and “being” my characters while animating them. This practice carries over to my sculpture and I think of the carving process as a sustained performance much like my approach to animation. Consequently I have the huge pleasure of being the subject of my sculpture until it is done—so much fun to be a quail!
Design is obviously very important in visual mediums. Quail designs, all bird designs, can be composed of simple shapes if one is an informed designer/observer. Quail have no bumps or edges when running around on the ground—only the beak and top feather interrupt the smooth flowing lines of the silhouette. Different postures create different changes in shape and are so much fun to explore. I love discovering just the right pose to communicate what I want to say through the sculpture. I hope "fun"is one of the words that pops into your head when you see this.
All text and photos copyright 2011 by Ellen Woodbury
Photo by Mel Schockner, www.melschocknerphoto.com/