We Put A Bird On It

8 Feb 2011


Portlandia: Put A Bird On It

When I saw saw this clip, I just knew that I had to share it with you all. Over and over again, birds pop up on the collage and mixed-media art submissions that we receive. Occasionally we’ll get a letter to the editor that asks us why we use so many birds.

Because our art is submitted by you, the reader, we assume that you keep sending in birds because you like to see them in your art. So, while we’re always looking for new icons in mixed-media art and collage, we know that we’ll keep seeing birds as long as they continue to be a perennial fave.

…as long as we don’t take it too far (like in this clip, above).

Facebook.com/ClothPaperScissorsMAG friends share their art with a “bird on it.”

Want to see how much our readers like birds? Take a look at this clip we put together with our Facebook friends’ art! You’ll see tags, collages, prints, journal pages, watercolors, stencils, and lots more.

I originally thought that I’d get 9 or 10 pieces and would have plopped them into a blog—but no. Once again, you all blew me away with your creativeness and sense of community.  You make it fun to come to work every day!

Do you have art in your studio with “a bird on it”? If you’re not a bird fan, do you have an image or icon that turns up repeatedly in your art? Why do you think that is? What do you think will take the place of birds as the next “in” icon? Or, do you think that birds are here to stay?



DSC_2663   DSC_2120  

In our house, birds aren’t just a passing fancy. My daughter Becky (pictured here) has discovered a love for birds of all types (but especially Saw Whet Owls and Song Birds) after being introduced to bird banding with her Big Sister. We both create art occasionally that features birds. Becky also uses spaceships, hamburgers, and dogs, while I lean more toward symbols of home like houses, forks, hearts, and maps (both found and abstract).

No matter what icons you see represented in the art we feature in Cloth Paper Scissors, we know that you can find a way to take each project and make it your own, with your own favorite symbol or meaningful image. We look forward to your submissions and your letters to the editor, and we enjoy the discussion.

  BONUS! a last-minute entry by Crystal Neubauer that didn’t make it into the movie. These are a grouping of monoprint encaustic pieces from her “For the Birds” series. Don’t you want her to show us how she made these?

Keep sending us your ideas, and let us know what your new favorite icon or image is in our comment section below! And a special thanks to all of you who sent in your art for this fun project. I hope you’ll share the link to this blog with your mixed-media luvin’ friends, too!



UPDATE! : An alert blog reader just pointed out that I should put in a shameless plug for this new fantabulous book by Abigail Patner Glassenberg. Seeing as I LOVE the book, I thought it was a good idea! Check it out—you could even paint a bird on the bird!

Featured Product

The Artful Bird Feathered Friends to Make + Sew

Availability: Out Of Stock
Was: $24.95
Sale: $12.48


Create your own aviary of charming, beautifully detailed, one-of-a-kind fabric bird sculptures with basic machine- and hand sewing, embroidery, and mixed-media craft techniques.


Related Posts
+ Add a comment


lyneen wrote
on 9 Feb 2011 6:33 PM

Great video... so much inspiration!

on 10 Feb 2011 3:56 AM

This is a hysterical clip.... now I'm not sure how I feel about my own bird fetish, though!  :-)

ElenaRadock wrote
on 11 Feb 2011 12:06 PM

My husband woke me up this morning to show me this video!  He laugh so hard b/c the last piece I made was not "done" until I had put a hawk on it!

Lindy101 wrote
on 12 Feb 2011 8:14 AM

I am in the same frame of mind as darhosta! I am currently working on an osprey, and there is a sketch in my ideas book that involves geese, starlings and black birds... oh, my!

robin basile wrote
on 12 Feb 2011 9:35 AM

It wasn't until I saw this absurd, hysterically funny video that I realized how many birds I see in artwork, including my own.   Since I'm positive birds have a sense of humor, I'm sending this video to the bird refuge in my town to cheer up birds who are still quite upset about Alfred Hitchcock's take on birds!    

Miep wrote
on 12 Feb 2011 1:03 PM

I LOVE Birds and I am making a small quilted wall hanging at the moment with whimsical birds.

on 13 Feb 2011 5:59 AM

I give this a big bird for fun!   Florida

coleen4 wrote
on 13 Feb 2011 9:16 AM

I love birds and using them in art.  Icon or not, they are just a beautiful little creature of God.

Coleen in Ukraine

2littlewings wrote
on 15 Feb 2011 6:33 AM

I'm guilty of the bird iconography in my work, for sure....but I think that is because I've been a bird lover for as long as I've been an artist...when I was a little girl, I spent HOURS down in the chicken coop with the hens--I even painted their toenails!  (we had the fanciest hens around!)  And now I share my life with four boisterous parrots.  So feathers, birds, and all that is involved seem to show up regularly in my work.  Really though, there is so much we can learn from birds...loyalty, love, resiliency, patience....

Don't believe me?  Read the book Wesley the Owl or watch the movie/read the book Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.

on 15 Feb 2011 9:11 PM

I live in Portland and can tell you that the Portlandia skit was right on target.  They put birds on everything here.  One of my Portland artist friends who paints birds on all her stuff watched that skit and asked me, "what's so funny?" and that just made it even funnier.

chartid wrote
on 28 Apr 2011 9:52 AM

Thanks for spreading the word even further about the wonderful Portlandia episode "Put a Bird on It." As a fairly recent replant to Portland, I love that series because it is so spot on. I have a t-shirt that tells people to "Put a bird on it"

oedalis wrote
on 28 Apr 2011 10:04 AM

I think the icon I use most is probably eyes. They're very compelling and have a rich history in art.

ScootLeo wrote
on 28 Apr 2011 2:30 PM

this clip makes me glad I never got into the bird icon! No birds in my studio... well, except for the odd raven or bald eagle. With a nephew whose middle name is Raven, I have rather gotten into collecting raven images.

DonnaF@35 wrote
on 28 Apr 2011 3:27 PM

Fabulous post. Love the humour and the art!

on 2 May 2011 12:16 PM

Birds are definitely here to stay.  I have a fabulous collection right outside my windows to inspire.  Robins, nesting on the front porch; black headed chickadees in the Dogwood tree, bright blue scrub jays on the cedar, and new this year!!!: two stunning bald eagles flying over the lake every day.

It's a paradise.


on 16 Aug 2012 12:11 PM

Jenn Mason Cloth Paper Scissors Editor Today is the start of something new. And no, I don’t mean that

Dori Hamill wrote
on 29 Jan 2013 10:39 AM

I too didn't realize I had a bird fetish either! But, my first experimenting with encaustics ended up with a bird on it. I painted peacocks on my kitchen wall mural since we have them all over our ranch. I have a purple glitter bird that moves around the house. The list goes on. Good minds think alike?

on 3 May 2013 9:48 AM

I love the Portlandia clip.  It was my first introduction to Portlandia.  So funny!  I think birds are here to stay but that they may ebb and flow in popularity a bit.  It seems that foxes and elephants are everywhere right now.  I seem to go with more abstract images in my art but I love swirls and hearts. :D