A Barn Owl in the Garden

I have a bit of a thing about barn owls, they’re beautiful birds and it’s quite a magical experience when you see one. I was once driving home in the dark along a country lane and as I turned a corner I surprised one in the middle of the road picking up some roadkill. The barn owl rose up from the road in my headlights, it was beautiful to see. The Winters Wreath quilt I’m making at the moment from a BOM by Raggedy Ruff designs caught my eye because it has a barn owl in the centre…

Well last year I was perusing the internet and found a course making a barn owl from chicken wire over in Cumbria. I realised straight away that it was the same tutor I went to to make other chicken wire birds for my garden. I found her website and she is still doing courses at her home in Fridaythorpe. Fridaythorpe is the other side of York from us and about 90 minutes drive, so doable in a day trip. I knew my friend would be keen too so we booked a day to make a barn owl each.

Over about 15 years I’ve made a chicken, a duck, a goose and a heron, they get moved around the garden depending where there is a gap in the plants. They are tough old birds and look just as good now as when I made them…

…the duck seems a little camera shy!

On Saturday we set off bright and early to be at Fridaythorpe for 9.30. We had a great time, Sue our tutor is great, very relaxed but always there to tell us what we need to do next, not easy when there’s a variety of birds and beasts being made – there was a mother and daughter making a fox each and another lady making a sculpture of her cocker spaniel.

It’s physically quite a hard day as you need to wrap the chicken wire tightly round and then secure by twisting all the loose ends in, previous birds have involved making yumyums and bagels out of small sheets of chicken wire to add bulk but this time it was mainly wrapping the netting round to make the initial carrot shape into more of an aubergine size whilst keeping the head end neat and flat. The wings were made by stretching one side of chicken wire and scruching up the other side so it arced nicely. Everything was finished off with a layer of ‘magic pants’, heavier grade chicken wire which smooths everything over and holds it all securely.

We were both well chuffed with our owls…

When we first put the wings on they flapped a bit, which looked quite realistic but not for a sculpture, once we had the layer of heavier magic pants wire across the back and shoulders and up each wing and then another piece underneath, they stayed nicely in position.

The eyes were just a pair of marbles popped into holes made with a pair of pliers. He’s got a lovely curved tail too which you can’t see in the photos.

We’re both well chuffed with our owls, I just need to find a high spot to put him on now.

If you’re within striking distance of Fridaythorpe I can highly recommend these workshops. Sue is a great tutor, she’ll help where needed but in such a way that you always feel you made it. Everyone goes home with a bird or animal that looks like whatever it’s meant to be, well apart from my friend who reckons her heron looks more like a flamingo! Her website is Susan Nichols Wire. She makes a lovely cake too!

About craftycreeky

I live in a busy market town in Yorkshire with my husband, kids, dogs and chickens. I love trying new crafts, rediscovering old ones, gardening, walking...anything creative really I started this blog after my New Year resolution worked so well. My resolution (the first one I've ever kept!) was to post a photograph of my garden on Facebook every day. My hope was that I would then see what was good in the garden and not just weeds and work, which was my tendency. The unexpected side-effect was that I have enjoyed many more hours in the garden. I am hoping that 'The Crafty Creek' will have the same effect. Happy creating!
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6 Responses to A Barn Owl in the Garden

  1. Laura says:

    Love your chicken wire creatures, Margaret! They are so cool and a perfect adornment for your garden! If I could, I would definitely join you in a class!😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kathyreeves says:

    Another gorgeous creature for your garden!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jane M says:

    This is amazing, great pose. Maybe he can come swooping off your summerhouse

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So talented! Who would have thought that chicken wire would turn into a work of art! Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amo says:

    They, and especially the owl, are fabulous! My creative partner in crime, Natalie, works in wire. Good strong hands!

    Liked by 1 person

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