Dead birds...

Came across this a little while ago and I thought it was so charming....

A miners canary in a tiny coffin,here's the story to go with it.

19th century coal miners would traditionally take canaries in cages down into the mine with them. The birds would act as an early warning system for carbon monoxide gas. When the canary stopped singing the miner would know that he had to escape the chamber he was in. This particular yellow canary was obviously a favored pet as well as a working bird. Inscribed with the legend : 'In Memory of Little Joe. Died November 3rd 1875. Aged 3 Years' (from The British Antique Dealers' Association

It inspired some pieces I'm still working on. Dead birds made from textiles and thread as tiny reminders of a tiny life,insignificance,loss and most importantly a friend who would be missed.

So Ive been making and still making a collection of feathered friends who have sadly gone but are remembered.
Each one is made from lots of scraps of fabric and wire and each has a section of a vintage spoon on its chest. These will eventually be sewn on (excuse the pins in the images) and engraved with the birds name and message etc.
Around the spoon plaque I'm edging them with diamante and broken vintage jewellery.

In my head the idea is that an elderly dressmaker whenever he finds a dead bird copies them in fabric and names them so they are never forgotten.


  1. Very cool- I always associate "a canary in the coal mine" with an old Sherlock Holmes movie- I think maybe from the 70s? Anyway, your birds are really beautiful.

  2. Thankyou! ive got a few more to this space.x

  3. Hi, came across your blog and really like your objects. This sad and beautiful melancoly tells its "life story" and talks to my heart.

  4. I am in total agreement with Elly. I've seen your birds but not known the inspiration. It's so touching and quietly beautiful.

  5. Your birds remind me of these fantastic seagulls made by Jane Howarth. They sell her collection in Luna and Curious in London. Have you ever seen them? You must they are beautiful and very similar to your aesthetic.
    Great work.

  6. Norman,I have seen them they are excusite and she amazing.
    I actually stock Luna and Curious!
    They are wonderful to deal with and ive just sent then a large box of birds and other creatures for their shop which has just moved.
    I generally send all my work to London now.

    Thankyou for your kind comments.

  7. How was this canary preserved so well do you think? Was it embalmed or a taxidermist did so? Don't understand why it never deteriorated.

  8. All of you need mental assessments!!


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