Parliament of Owls

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Many years ago, I was hiking in the dead of winter in a snow covered forest. It was completely silent, the type of silence that can only happen when everything is blanketed with snow. As I stumbled over a fallen tree I startled an enormous Snowy Owl. It was on the ground, having just caught some prey. It rose up with right in front of me, with its wings spread wide. At that moment time stood still and I clearly saw every detail, the texture and patterns of the wings, the shape of the body and the piercing stare. It was a profound experience which inspired a deep fascination with the animal.

Owls have long appeared in art and myth often representing wisdom, prophecy and mysticism. The term ‘Parliament of Owls’ is believed to be first coined as a collective noun in “The Boke of St. Albans: Containing Treatises on Hawking, Hunting and Cote Amour”  by Dame Juliana Berners in the late 1300’s. When I first heard the term it increased my fascination with these animals. Who could not resist envisioning Owls perched in trees and on building using their powers of wisdom and prophecy to converse about the world?

My Parliament of Owls were created out of porcelain using the pinch and coil method. Each Owl starts with a pinch pot and coils are slowly added to construct the body and head. The finger and hand marks are intentionally left to create a rich and varied surface. They are built hollow, as one would build a vessel.  As the faces are sculpted distinct characteristics evolve. While the Owls are build in the same manner, each is unique.
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