Behind the Scenes: Daisy and the Unwanted House Guest

I had a dream a week or two ago that went something like this (fyi Daisy is my male albino parakeet, whom we originally thought was a girl…hence the name, Eric is my boyfriend and Wolfgang is my cat):

It was raining. In the living room, the rain came through the ceiling. Daisy’s cage was in the living room so I went and got him and brought into the bedroom and sat his cage on the bed. He was soaked and cold so I went to grab his fuzzy blue bed to put in his cage with him. I came back and realized another bird had gotten into the cage from outside. I screamed to Eric to come help me get the bird out. Daisy was scared and tried to push himself out through the side of his cage.

I grabbed daisy trying to push him back in and take him out through the door. Eric got the other bird and got it outside. Before he got it, the bird had pulled out some of Daisy’s feathers. I got daisy out of the cage, but he wanted down so I sat down on the floor with him and he started rolling around in the carpet to dry off. I thought it was super cute, so I turned to tell Eric to come look.While I was turned away, Wolfgang snuk up and bit Daisy’s neck.

I freaked out, yelled at Wolfgang and grabbed Daisy, holding his head down to put pressure on the wound.

I went out to Eric, yelling and crying, having him look up the number to the emergency vet or the exotic animal hospital. He was trying to look up the numbers on his phone and couldn’t find them. Then he got distracted by something on his computer. I was telling him over and over what had happened and that it was important that we needed to call these people now. Eventually I just went to my own computer, holding Daisy to my chest to keep his neck down.

I found the number and was about to call when I decided to look to see how bad the would was. I lifted up his head and inside he was all mechanical, he had been a fake bird all along, from the beginning, since we got him. I was so so mad. I eventually turned him off and put him in my closet and began researching mechanical birds. There was no record of them online anywhere.

I woke up while I was still in the middle of my research.

Crazy dream, I know. I didn’t think to illustrate it until a few days ago, and being my dream I figured I was allowed to take some liberties. I wanted to show the other bird in the cage and how scary of a situation I felt it was for Daisy. Because of this, I made the other bird mechanical instead.

  1. I built the birds out of polymer clay. For the crow, I made the basic shape, then rolled some clay flat (using a rolling pin for a child’s toy kitchen) and cut it into small squares and rectangles and made rivet holes with the tip of my needle nose pliers. I coated the crows body in these. Then, I cut tiny pieces of wire and put them in his mouth for teeth. After he was done baking I mixed platinum, metallic blue and black hobby acrylic pain in varying amounts and painted the body. The parakeet was a bit more basic. I just built him out of clay and painted a couple tiny details on after baking. The feet on each bird were made possible by using pieces of wire to support the legs.20140830_205839 20140830_220341 20140831_144208

    Painted and held for scale – the rivet holes were later painted black.
  2. For the cage, I cut varying links of small wooden dowels for the basic structure. I then lined these up side by side on a piece of paper on which I had drawn pencil lines the width apart that I wanted the metal cage slats to be. I used my 3doodler (3d printing pen) to draw the lines. I then attached each side of the cage together with the 3doodler- drawing melted plastic around the adjacent wooden dowels.20140901_134223 20140901_155441 20140901_155449 20140901_161121
  3. I used wider square dowels that I had on hand for perches, using the 3doodler to draw around them on the cage sides for support.
  4. I used plain old cardboard for the background, which isn’t highly visible in the finished image (though you can see out the window) but I like to be prepared.

    Sorry about the blurriness.
  5. I sewed, of sorts, a piece of fabric with wire to make it flexible and thus “wind blown” and attached it to the cardboard wall/window.
  6. I shot the scene with my LensBaby Control Freak tilt shift lens then uploaded the image to photoshop to edit the colors and levels and add in the rain.

IMG_9056P.S. Here’s what the real Daisy looks like.


P.P.S. For those of you that follow along with the One Word Photo Challenge. This is the image I was originally aiming to post for Livid.

So there you have it. Thoughts?

10 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: Daisy and the Unwanted House Guest

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  1. This is a complete story, unlike most dreams. How real it feels. You spent a lot of time on the art. Therapeutic I bet. The mechanical creature is very “steam punk” my current favorite genre, a sub-genre of sci-fi. Creatures are partly alive and partly mechanical. Leviathon is an example, the air ship is a living thing sort of like a flying whale. I like your dream/story and how to worked it through art.

  2. Wow … I’m impressed on several levels, not the least is your ability to so vividly recall the dream and to illustrate it… with models, yet! The mechanical bird is indeed nightmarish. Well done.

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