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Another Hummingbird

Steve Duryea

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This was the first such piece I did, back in 1998.


Unfortunately, the full height of the piece makes it difficult to size it down to meet the site's requirements for size without losing a lot of resolution, sorry about that-- with the ebony pillar, and a sub-based of unpolished grey jadeite, it's about 13" high. The bird herself is 3 1/4" long from crown to tailtip.


The male Rufous Hummingbird is about the same color as the sunstone. The opal egg has a broad green flash which alas doesn't show in the photos... photographing opal is a real nuisance unless it has true multidirectional fire.


Tupelo, acrylics, chrysoprase, opal, sunstone, natural grape vines (cut and then pieced back together with tiny steel pins and glue to get the curves I wanted), boxwood, mulberry paper and shredded silk.








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You did well with the resizing. It is ultimately the k that counts, the pixel dimension is more flexible. Thanks for doing that. The closeup photos are very helpful. What delicate work! I cannot imagine working with grape vine tendrils to make them work for you.


What a nice scene. Who among us has actually seen a real hummingbird nest? Only photos on the internet in the last year for me. They fly so fast, I loose them in the leaves and branches before I even know which direction they are going in. The suggestion that the eggs, as gems in the nest, are so precious. Imagine what size a hummingbird egg really is, and how tiny, and alive!, the chicks are when first hatched. The composition leads one to imagining and into the branches...

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Thanks Janel.


Hummingbirds have an inherent cuteness but the Rufous is one of the most belligerent species, as all hummers are. Amazing creatures.


Our Rubythroat males are already gone south and the females will be leaving shortly. These birds weigh less than a dime, but many fly right across the Gulf of Mexico during the fall migration-- five hundred miles of open ocean. How they do this is vaguely understood but nobody knows why, when others take a land route.


I did a lot of testing of grapevines before deciding to use them instead of making faux ones. They're incredibly tough and after two years, the samples I took hadn't lost their elasticity. The ones in the piece are still holding up fine after eight years. It isn't that difficult to cut and pin them together and the joins don't show at all if I'm careful, and give the vines a light coating of shellac afterwards.


My SO did succeed in tracking down a Rubythroat nest once. About the size of a walnut and they suspend 'em from a tree branch with spider silk. The nest was abandoned by then of course, but the eggs are about 8 mm long. Occasionally hummers do attach nest to rocks by the same method, but I just used the chrysoprase because I liked the look and the color harmonized will with the bird's back and complemented the orange plumage on the belly and flanks.

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