Ron Fleming - Great Blue Heron archive

Monday 6 January 2014

Ron Fleming shares this magnificent turned and carved piece, depicting a great blue heron, which is mounted on a stand with carved feathers


I have been using leaves, animals and birds in my work for years now. An opportunity arose a few years ago, where I was asked to participate in a wildlife show here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I found out more about the project and decided to look at it as a challenge to do something different with my turning.

I had this great blue heron that hung out in the creek behind my house and thought this would be the perfect bird to feature in a major piece. I did some research and found that John James Audubon had illustrated the heron.

I picked out some of the grasses that were in the creek and made these the basis for the bowl shape. I started by carving the bird in relief, then bleached the whole piece and used a wood burner to make the feathers. The final step was to use acrylics to paint the bird.

I tried to make it look as three-dimensional as possible; I didn't want to make it look like it was just a bird in relief. After experimenting with this idea, I realised that this didn't seem to be enough to make the piece stand out, so I turned a pier pedestal that was made to look like it was many years old. This is one of my secret weapons. I then carved the feathers of the heron, added some trinkets and hung these in front of the pedestal. This seemed to pull the whole piece together. This is one of the most successful pieces that I think have created to date.

Woodworkers Institute

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Ron Fleming , Great Blue Heron

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