Print Compositions

The first piece i created is based off the pattern of the print that i was using to create the artwork. I followed the pattern of the lines on the lino for the composition. I was going to fill the piece, but i realised that the piece looked better without filling the paper.


The second piece that i created i based off of the rule from the natural system “head towards the centre”. i placed the prints in a spiral position and i think it worked in regards to the rule that i was basing the piece off of.




I began to create lino prints to fill out my body of work after finishing my sculpture.

The prints were inspired by the black and white drawings i created with tipex. The first lino i created (seen below) worked well, but did nor give the overwhelming effect like previous sketches. This was due to the lack of lines that i cut and because i only cut 3 lines, the print seemed to look more like a “logo” rather than a representation of a murmuration. This was due to the fact that the lino cutter i was using was not thin enough. So i created a tool that could cut the fine lines that i was trying to achieve.

The image seen below is the original print, after adding the thinner lines.




After creating the last print (seen above) i began playing with compositions on paper and decided to create work with the prints based off the patterns and rules of the natural system.


I had been through many different ideas for my sculpture. I initially wanted to create a sculpture with the birds hanging in a form that would represent the shapes and patterns of the murmuration. I was going to make a mobile type sculpture that would rotate to create different shapes every time. My estimate for the amount of bird i would need was 50 birds. However, as previously stated, the casting didn’t began getting more difficult and i only ended up with 31 birds (32 including the first prototype).

After debating the sculpture for a while, and speaking to the tutors and other people in my studio, i decided i wanted to make a sculpture that was more controversial to my theme.

We talked about placing them all on the floor upside down to contradict the system. However, i decided to place the birds in a cage, some still hanging but a majority of them placed on the bottom, as if the rules that they follow have been intercepted due to the cage. The cage plays a “puppet master” role with two bamboo sticks crossed over the top, which were initially placed there to stop the mesh i used from stretching but played a bigger role in the sculpture than i originally intended.


I used a plastic mesh which i found in the garden of my student house, and cut out 8 pieces to the same size (30cm x 30cm) and hot glue gunned the sides together.

I glued 5 sides together, attached the bamboo sticks and then began hanging the birds, this was a difficult process due to the weight of the birds making the sculpture sag.

This can be seen below. To photograph the work in progress, i had to use a piece of string to hold the sculpture together so i could get a good photo of it.


Artist Research

For this artist research i decided to look at different ways artists use cages in their work.

Contemporary Sculpture " Hand In The Cage " 1

For this piece, it is not stated who it has been made by and is advertised on a collectors furniture website, however i think the idea behind it is interesting.

This is an installation by Jeppe Hein called ‘Cage and Mirror’. This is an interactive installation, meaning that viewers can actually enter the cage and experience the installation first hand. There is a large circular mirror that rotates placed in the centre to create and optical illusion as the guests walk around the inside of the cage.

A video in the link below shows guests walking around the installation to show you how the mirror works with the cage.


This is a kinetic sculpture made by Hobart Ray Brown called ‘Emily’. The artist made this piece for his daughter Emily and it is a kinetic sculpture made out of metal in the form of a hamster cage. It is currently for sale on a vintage’s website. During its time its home was in the Hobart Brown kinetic sculpture museum and gallery in California. Although this piece is very different to what i am going to create, it is still quite interesting and i love the shapes of all the different sections, the fact that it is an animal cage gives it more character.









This is an installation by Sara Jimenez from Anonymous Contemplations during the Final exhibition on the television show “Work of Art”. The cage was found in the streets of New York. There are 100 birds that are exiting the cage and are made out of paper using origami. They are used to symbolise setting secrets free. I love this piece, the message behind it is powerful and the layout with the way that she makes them look like they are rising to the ceiling is a beautiful visual illusion. I love the fact that the artist chose to keep everything white in connection with the peaceful theme of freedom.


This is a sculpture by Marguerite Derricourt called ‘Bird Cage’ and is made out of Wire and copper. This sculpture is interesting because the birds around the outside of the cage, when viewed on the photo, make it look like the birds are flying about inside of the cage. This is a similar illusion that i am trying to achieve with my sculpture but with hanging the birds inside and trying to make the movement visible without actually having to be moving.

In 2009, Michael Thomas Hill created ‘Forgotten Songs’. It is an installation of 110 empty birdcages surrounded by speaker that play bird calls. The bird calls are from some of the birds that used to be resident in Sydney but are now gone due to urbanisation of the area. Due to the popularity of the installation, residents demanded it be a permanent feature of the area, so the artists swapped the cages for 180 new rustproof cages and still features the bird calls.

Black & White

Whilst creating sketches and drawings throughout my major project, i had been primarily creating work on white paper with black dots to represent the birds. However, after finding some black card, i decided to create some small line drawings. the aim was to create them to capture the flow of a murmuration.

I began trying with acrylic paint and watercolours, but it didn’t give the vivid effect i wanted so instead i used a correction marker (tipex pen)

I noticed the similarities the drawings had to smoke. The way that smoke rises and flows was similar to the movement and patterns created during a starling murmuration.

Spiral painting

Whilst spray painting the resin birds, I decided i wanted to create a piece during this process, as i had an idea for a painting. I decided to place the birds in a spiral position on the paper and then spray painted through them with a Matt Black Montana 94 spray paint can.

I based this painting off of one of the rules that a murmuration follows; head towards the centre. What i believe worked best with this piece is that, due to the fact that the resin birds only touched the paper in certain places, the spray paint dust went underneath the figure slightly, but created the lighting effect on the birds, which can be seen in the photo above.

Experimenting With Wax

whilst testing different materials for my body of work. I wanted to introduce wax into my project. However, this didn’t work how i wanted it to. I wanted to create a smaller replica of the birds and used crayon through a glue gun to create them. but due to the fact that i couldn’t find the correct crayons (all black) it did not work the way i wanted it to.


I decided that because this didn’t work how i wanted it to, i move on to melt some wax and wanted to carve a bird out of the wax. I found old candles and wax crayons to melt on the hob in a pan.


The wax crayon didn’t melt well over the heat so instead, i only had a few old candles to melt instead.


(In the photo above, the shape that can be seen amongst the wax is the orange crayon that did not melt properly, with white wax over the top, which then pulled apart when trying to carve it)


This is the outcome of the melted wax. I chose a square bowl as i thought something square form would be easier to carve into rather than a circular shape.


I was happy with the outcome, however, when i started to carve into it, it began to crumble due to one of the wax crayons that i melted on to it, separating away from the candle wax. The aim was to have layers of colours visible in a carving of a bird. I didn’t continue with this idea, as i didn’t feel as though it was necessary for the body of work that I was creating and decided to stick with the monochrome look of my work.

Cast Figures

I initially intended to cast 50 resin birds for my piece. However, due to the silicone mould being overused, the figures became harder to cast and would only produce half of the bird. this would then become a longer process, due to the fact that I would have to tape the figure to a surface, pour the resin on the part that was missing and then manipulate the resin into the shape of a wing slowly whilst allowing the resin to set.

Usually, you are only supposed to use one silicone mould for a few casts, however i only made one mould to use for all of the casting. When i made the mould, i used the clay figure yo create it, and because the clay was still damp when the mould set overnight, it dried out the clay and it had then completely disintegrated.

The overall number of birds i cast is 31. However, I believe this is still an appropriate amount to be able to continue with the sculpture.




To finish off the figures after they had been cast, i had to saw off the part off the bottom which is only part of the cast because it is the place where the resin is poured in on the mould. I would then finish it off by using an electric sanding tool to smooth off the bird and get rid off any unnecessary flaws.

After the test bed exhibition, which was where i took in some of the cast figures. I told the people critiquing my work about the idea to paint the birds like actual birds, with the correct coating and details. However, a thought was that painting them like this would make them be a replica of the murmuration rather than a sculpture which is a representation of what they create.

I decided it would be better to paint the birds solid black. This is because of the way i had carried out some of my sketchbook work by black dots resembling the flock. I wanted to continue with a black and white theme my body of work seemed to be following. I used a spray paint can of Montana 94 Matt Black as i could get a quicker, more even coverage compared to using just acrylic paint (I used acrylic afterwards to get into any small gaps that had not been reached.