Part of my collection, the owls featured in the photos below are some of my favourites.
These two little blue owls seem to be the perfect companions and were both made in India. Cast in brass and coloured with oxides, their features have been etched into the metal. The beak and eyes on the smaller owl have been rubbed back to reveal the brass colour.
Cast in brass, the taller owl – with his intelligent eyes and strong claws – was made by a local artist in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. The fine detail of its feathers and face make a very lifelike figurine. Beside him is an enameled owl, made in Italy from a heavy cast metal. The delicate colours accentuate the owl’s features, and I like the way these two owls seem to be looking at each other.
These owls are part of my collection and were all gifts from my family.
The whimsical green pottery owl was made by a local potter on the central coast of New South Wales.
Made in Japan, the second owl is intricately hand painted and sits on a wooden base. It has a label which says ‘Andrea by Sadek’.
Moulded in concrete, the small grey owl has fine detail in its feathers.
The little pair of brown owls were made and hand painted in Scotland.
The last owl is a paper weight, and has a magnifying effect through the glass as you tilt it.
Owls come in all shapes and sizes, and those pictured below are no exception.
The white raku-fired owl has a lovely crackled surface and is decorated with a pretty blue pattern.
This antique wooden owl has been highlighted with gold paint. It is intricately patterned and carved from solid wood.
Made from a blend of resins and fillers and hand painted, the third owl is very well detailed and coloured. It is one of a series of wild life wall figures by Bossons Artware (Owlet No 57) and was made in England.
Hand painted on a smooth river pebble and designed as a paper weight, the fourth owl has remarkably detailed features and very soulful eyes.
Made from Feeneys buff raku clay, these little owls were hand-built.
Pinch pots were used for the bodies. The feathers and wings were formed separately and attached using an old toothbrush to roughen the surface. The face was patterned using pottery tools, then the eyes, beak and feet were added.
The speckled surface showing through the glaze gives the fired pottery a rough stone-like appearance.
These small owls – made from Keane white raku clay – were burnished, part glazed and raku-fired. Being small, they were formed from a solid ball of clay, then shaped and patterned using various pottery tools. Holes were pierced into the base of the formed owls to reduce cracking as the clay dried.
The burnished effect was created by smoothing in a circular motion, using the back of a spoon. The owls were then dried, bisque fired, part clear-glazed and raku-fired.
Immediately after removing them from the gas fired raku kiln, they were placed in a lidded bin, lined with combustible material (newspaper and sawdust). This causes post firing reduction and blackens the clay and crackles the glazed areas.
This bronze glazed owl, was made during a workshop at the Central Coast Potters Society at East Gosford. It was raku-fired during one of the potters annual open days, which usually includes a pit fire and raku firing. One of my favourite owls, it usually remains safely inside but was photographed in the garden near some ferns and a bird of paradise plant.
Carved from a block of hebel, these owls and pagodas were made during a sculpture workshop.
Hebel, a lightweight building product made from autoclaved aerated concrete, is very easy to carve using saws, chisels, surform files and gouging tools. Off white in colour, these sculptures which weather over time, can be painted or coloured with oxides.
Starting with a block of hebel, which measures about 200mm x 200mm x 600mm, it is best to mark out your design roughly with chalk. Begin carving carefully, sawing away unneeded areas first and then using smaller tools for the finer details. A lot of dust will be released when working on your project, so always wear a mask and safety glasses.
Apart from the wonderful rainforest to be seen from the boardwalk, there are some amazing sculptures at the Sea Acres National Park.
A sculpture by Stephen King of Ninox, the powerful owl, is part of a memorial to Boyd Laut, who was a senior national park ranger. The owl, larger than life, greets you in an open-air classroom on the boardwalk.
I couldn’t resist including this photo I took of a curled frond on the branch of a Tree Fern, which reminds me of an owl with its large eyes and head slightly turned.