Fabric Art to Feather Your Nest

The vestiges of last week's snowstorm still linger in crusted mounds all over our yard. But I can ignore them because of the unmistakable spring sound of birdsong that has been filling the air the last few mornings.

fiber art nest assemblage by holly kress kennedy

Fiber art nest assemblage by Holly Kress Kennedy.


Robins, sparrows, chickadees, catbirds, and cardinals nest in our trees and bushes, and I imagine them whistling while they work to feather their new nests.

I have a sort of fascination with nests and nest construction. I've made some fabric art ones myself out of fancy fibers and crochet, but they don't have the structural oomph to hold anything.

Holly Kress Kennedy solves that problem by fortifying the fiber nests she makes with a handmade wire frame. Set on a handmade branch tripod, Holly's fiber art nests can easily hold treasured found objects, including a fabric bird or two.

To make these nests, you will need 18- and 20-gauge wire, wire cutters, loose fibers, and natural items such as twigs and moss.

How to Make a Fiber Art Nest

1. Cut the 18-gauge wire into four 11" lengths. Twist 2 lengths together in the middle and repeat with the other 2 lengths of wire. Hold the two 18-gauge wire sections together and wrap the 20-gauge wire securely around the center so that it looks like spokes of a wheel.

armature for fiber art nest, step 1
armature for fiber art nest step 2
Steps 1 and 2 for making the wire nest base.

2. Starting at the center where the wires intersect, begin weaving and wrapping the 20-gauge wire in a spiderweb fashion around the spokes of the 18-gauge wire.

3. Gradually form the wire web into a bowl shape as you wrap. Wrap a double row of wire around the edge of the bowl to form a rim, bending the 8 ends of the 18-gauge wire over the rim wire to secure it.

4. Beginning at the bottom intersection of the wire nest frame, weave ribbon, lace, fabric strips, etc., in and out through the wire. Tie off each new fiber to the previous one. Use a variety of fibers to create texture and interest. You can also incorporate feathers, small twigs, moss, or leaves.

5. Wrap the rim of the basket tightly in ribbon for a finished look. Fill the nest with your favorite treasures and set the nest on the branch tripod frame.

The leaves are simply made from torn handmade paper, wool felt, and fabric. Tear a leaf shape out of the paper, then cut a smaller leaf shape from the felt and an even smaller shape from the fabric. Stitch down the middle of the stack with embroidery floss.

Starting about 2"-3" from the bottom of a length of 20-gauge wire, wrap the end of a leaf several times. Using the tail end of the wire, wire the leaves onto the branches.

fiber art nest by holly kress kennedy
The finished fiber art nest, with added
feathers and twigs.

I have a feeling making these fiber-filled nests will be rather addicting. Goodness knows I have enough fiber to outfit several of them!

Holly's article on these nesting places for found objects appeared in the March/April 2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. You can now get all six issues from last year on our 2012 CD Collection. The collection is filled with ideas for spring creating and beyond.

P.S. Do you make nest-themed art? What are your favorite techniques and materials? Share in the comments space below.

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Blog, Fabric Art

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