This carving started because I wanted to express something about owls, snowy owls specifically. I started with a small image of an owl I had created many years ago in a painting – the owl itself measured only 1/2″ in diameter (below, left) – it was a small detail that I thought would work well at a larger scale. This small owl detail was itself inspired by one of the bronze owl mounts on the Brå cauldron (below, right), which is part of the collection at the Moesgård Museum in Denmark.
What I found once I began the carving was that I was thinking a lot about a specific owl I knew when I was a child, a snowy owl that I had forgotten about, but that the process of creating this carving had dredged up from my memory. I spent part of my summers when I was 12, 13 and 14, in a program at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center that put me in direct contact with local wildlife that for various reasons were unable to be released back into the wild. One summer I cared for the birds of prey, which included a snowy owl that had been struck by a car. I brought him food, cleaned his large cage, carried him along the outdoor trails with his impressive claws perched on my leather-gloved hand, and exercised him in the summer fields. What I remember most is the almost silent whoosh of of this magnificent bird’s wing beats, and the large eyes that were always watching me. This experience left me with a deep respect for owls, and a love of snowy owls in particular.
Below is a gallery of images from the @ninthwavedesigns Instagram account that show the stages of creating this carving: