Found, Fettled and Free

Image of a colourful bird sculpture, made from a variety of things, feathers, ribbons, broken jewellery and velvets, perched on a table, in front of a brick wall.
‘Found, Fettled and Free’ (35cm x 35cm, sculpture) – Julia Walker.

‘Found, Fettled and Free’ (35cm x 35cm, sculpture).

‘As a CEV disabled person ‘lockdown is ongoing. The first 12 months were spent in our tiny home leaving only for medical appointments. The one other place I went was the nearby park, in my wheelchair, in all weathers. We watched the seasons change and from every visit I brought Treasure home – feathers, seedheads, leaves.

A Plan was brewing. Friends and new friends sent me their Treasures. Found, Fettled and Free. Feathers, ribbons, broken jewellery and velvets. Measuring 35cm x 35cm this is the result. A bejewelled flamboyant magpie in its nest with a miniature nest in front of him. Felted hearts add movement, tiny peregrine feathers contrast with the textures of woven willow, and a jaunty peacock feather finishes it off. 

Nothing bought, all found or gifted. It’s a reminder that in a world in chaos there are wonderful generous people, that nature provides for us physically and emotionally, that beautiful art can be made from things you already have. Materials used: peregrine, pigeon, crow, magpie, peacock, swan, ducks, bluetit, sparrow, cockerel feathers, willow, leaves, string, shells, sea glass, broken jewellery, beads, buttons, ribbons, packaging, velvets, wool felt.

Magpies are intelligent and inquisitive, always examining whatever catches their eye. Doing this whilst being so distinctive gave them their bad reputation – they’re not thieves, just very nosy birds’.

‘I’ve taught all my life including many years in a PRU but retired when my health deteriorated. I have rheumatoid arthritis (and other chronic conditions including ME, osteoporosis, depression and Long Covid) and am in a wheelchair. I have lived in Yorkshire for the last 33 years and this beautiful place has a big impact on my creativity. I’m trying to regain some sense of identity and an answer to the ‘so what do you do?’ question through my art’.

Julia Walker, 2021.

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