fling your soul upon the gloom and something new in the bird leg department

When I get whacked hard by life,  this is the poem I read.  And this is my favorite part:

An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
      In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
      Upon the growing gloom.


It always cheers me up and I know what to do,  fling my soul hard at the gloom. It is the only thing to do.

I’m back from my teaching trip and It all worked out. But it sure was dicey for a while. There are so many reasons not to do stuff. Trying seems to invite bad luck. It doesn’t, but it seems that way.  The more stuff you do the more stuff there is that can go wrong. And when things do go wrong they love to go wrong in a horrifying cascade. That’s what happened in the 2 weeks before I left for Los Angeles. Lots of little things went wrong and a couple big ones.  There was plenty of gloom. I rarely feel defeated but I did for a while. The darkling thrush saved me.

carving a wax bird foot

I got home at 2 AM on Tuesday, watered the plants and spent the next 30 hours in bed. I am still exhausted. I’m also full of ideas. The first thing I did was ship a ton of  orders and then I carved a bird leg from a block of wax.

bird foot carved form a wax block

I’ve been wanting to try this for a long time.  The intention is to eventually have molds made and cast legs in brass and bronze and silver. I have no idea if I did this right. I just started hacking away at the wax  and did not look up for many hours.

carved wax bird foot

It was a deeply peaceful and immersive experience and I want to carve more wax – I have all sorts of ideas…

The Aged Thrush

PS – I got the wax blocks here.

carving a wax bird leg for casting in bronze


  1. Your bird leg is beautiful, and the rest of the post resonates very profoundly with me. Thank you for talking about it.

    This week I tried to steady myself by hand-stitching a dress. The result is maybe not great, but immersing myself in it was good in the way you said. Peaceful.

  2. Jane Miller

    You are awesome..that’s all I can say. And thanks for being in the world!

  3. Julie Loeschke

    Thank you for thinking of these.Also so excited about the bird pattern!Take care.

  4. I wish I had known about your LA class! I live in Folsom, California, near Sacramento (no, I am a native, and not one of the crazies that has changed the way of life here).
    I am hoping that some day you will come and teach somewhere closer to here!
    And yes, I am looking forward to your offerings of bird feet…..that is the hardest part to get right!
    Thanks for all you do!

  5. Margaret

    You are unbelievably generous to share your songbird pattern. I have been in love with them and your fabulous owls forever. When I get my hands on the songbird pattern my life will be filled with song. Can’t wait. Would you be able to send a printed version of directions/pattern? Thank you for this great gift. Margaret

  6. What? Feet and the songbird pattern? Please don’t like this be an April Fools trickery I’m so excited!!

  7. Jennifer Cole

    Yay for carved bird feet, though I am still hoping to get myself a mini anvil and whack at some wire too. And three toes in the front!

  8. Susan Jonsson

    I can’t believe how my heart soars when I read your posts and feast my eyes on your photos! You feel like a blessed gift from the Universe….whose message is sent by the aged thrush…… could be a wren, by the songs I’ve heard most recently. Thank you for radiating your energy out into the world….as I not so patiently wait for. Bird legs and song Bird patterns ♥️!

  9. Love the new bird feet! You already changed my life recently when I discovered your instructions for the perfect covered wire bird feet, and I’ve been happily making them ever since. Thanks so much! Can’t wait to see these, if you get them cast and sell them. You are so creative!

  10. Oh very well done! I’m sure the castings are going to work out well. It’s a sensible addition to your shop, and a step in the right direction in the development of your art. I hope you feel rested soon, and that the creative energy keeps flowing.

  11. Thank you for sharing that beautiful poem, and your honesty about your teaching experience. I face many of the same things! Good for you for doing it! (and your bird leg is amazing)

  12. Ann,

    I am hooked on this poem and that particular phrase. Thank you for sharing it; it speaks deeply to me.

    I was also introduced to The Long Day by Hazel Hall through the Inspirations newsletter recently. You may find it interesting if you haven’t read it before.

    (And I am excited to see how your feet come along!)

    • Please share The Long Day by Hazel Hall.
      I looked for it but not able to find it. Amazing woman.
      There is a connection to all of us through Ann.
      Don’t you all feel it?

      • Dianne,

        I had to look for it again but I found it! Here you go:

        The Long Day by Hazel Hall, 1921

        I am sewing out my sorrow
        Like a thread, wearing it thin;
        It will be old and frayed to-morrow,
        Needle, turn out; needle, turn in.

        Sorrow’s thread is a long thread,
        Needle, one stitch; needle, two.
        And sorrow’s thread is a strong thread.
        But I will wear it through.
        Then not only will sorrow
        Be old and thin and frayed;
        But I shall have tomorrow
        Something sorrow has made.

        // This really applies to a simple project I made last year: https://www.thecrafties.com/2017/02/o-hoop/ Though the post shows nothing amiss, it was definitely stitched for the very purpose Hazel describes. I had chosen to leave the center empty, to reflect the issue more, but now I am pondering using the phrase Ann has singled out from the Hardy poem as it too is applicable.

  13. Jaimie Sander

    I love the bird leg! It will be beautiful in metal,but I also love the green wax!

  14. I work with wax a lot and I think that looks ace! Nice carving 🙂 Wax is addictive stuff (and messy). I look forward to the emergence of your all sorts of ideas.

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