Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Polyphony Bruna's "Northern Cardinal"

Medium: Lithoprint; Watercolor
Dimensions: 22 in x 18 in

"Cubism was a movement in the 20th century that inspired many diverse branches of art. This movement is based on the idea of breaking down and reassembling an object. As such, its use to portray February’s Northern Cardinal is fitting for a month in mid-winter. If Cubism is the dead of winter, then the following blossoming of diversity within the art world is the spring rebirth. The disassembly of Cubism ties into the destruction of winter, and just as how this disassembly allowed for a rebirth in the art world, the destruction of winter allows for the rebirth of spring. Furthermore, the disassembly and reassembly creates a perspective shift. This associates well with the stark perspective shift that occurs between winter and summer. The choice to draw a brown female cardinal, as opposed to the more iconic red male, follows along with this perspective shift. Instead, the recognizable red color is brought into the trees and environment of the bird. This also serves to put emphasis on the change in environment accompanying the seasons. But more importantly, this red, which incites ideas of vitality and life, illustrates the vitality that exists in an environment that may appear dead and cold."

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

We're Talking Swans on IPR's "Talk of Iowa"!

This Wednesday, April 5, I'll be talking about Iowa Bird of Mouth on Iowa Public Radio's Talk of Iowa with Charity Nebbe! How exciting! There'll be lots of eyes on the site, so get your trumpeter swan poems on! Plus, it's National Poetry Month. Swans & poetry: that makes sense! There's never been a better time to post a poem.

"Trumpeter Swan" by Polyphony Bruna

Polyphony is a brilliant artist and Ames High School student who is rendering our spotlight birds. 

Medium: Charcoal
Dimensions: 9 in x 12 in

"The decision to work with charcoal for April’s Trumpeter Swan stemmed from the purpose to portraying the underwater composition. First of all, this versatile medium would allow me to create both a smooth texture for the underwater background and a rough texture for the bird’s feathers. The contrast between these textures would help bring the bird to the foreground as well as convey the underwater scene. Furthermore, the monochromatic palette and soft or muted tone that comes with charcoal would create the murkiness of underwater. These elements would also mimic the deadened silence that one experiences underwater. The use of just a single medium diminishes the vibrancy of the piece, similarly serving to dull the senses. This snapshot of a swan is representative of April—the turn from winter to spring. At this moment, the swan has dived into the dark and muffling water, but it will soon re-emerge to the vibrant surface."

Saturday, March 18, 2017

IBOM & StoCoCon's Birdapalooza in the Ames Trib

Thank you, Todd Burras, for such a terrific write-up! And thank you, Jess, for all your hard work on this fantastic project! We hope to see you on April 1 at StoCoCon!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Catch us at Goldie's Kid's Club, June 7, 1-3 p.m.

We'll be crowd-sourcing poems about the robin at Goldie's Kid's Club, June 7, 1-3 p.m. Goldie's Kid's Club is the NEW State Historical Museum of Iowa club featuring mascot Goldie the goldfinch, as well as Goldie's Flight Path, a passport-like activity for families that involves all of our historic sites and museums. Cool! Their summer break programming is drop-in for families with children of all ages. How fun!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Click the pic to read our new newsletter

Polyphony Bruna's "Bald Eagles"

"Bald Eagles" by Polyphony Bruno, IBOM's Young Artist
Medium: Watercolor
Dimensions: 7.5 in x 7 in

"To portray January and the idea of a beginning, I decided to paint baby Bald Eagles. For this theme, I chose watercolor as my medium because I could create a softer tone. I also limited myself to one medium in order to add a purity to the piece. This expands upon the 'original' or 'untouched' theme. This is continued with the compositional elements. There is not a parental figure present; instead all the birds shown have the same set of experience and knowledge. They are as yet untested and at the very beginning of their lives. This also maintains the purity of the piece."

Thursday, February 2, 2017

"Bird of Mouth is spreading"

Here's a wonderful write-up about IBOM for the Iowa Arts Council blog. 

"The list of contributors includes writers of all levels, from a National Book Award nominee to preschoolers, from Iowa and beyond. Nobody has to sign their name, so it’s hard to tell who they are, but collectively, they’ve written some 'knockout' stuff every single month, Jennifer said."

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Polyphony Bruna's "American Goldfinch"

Polyphony is a brilliant artist and Ames High School student who is rendering our spotlight birds. Coming soon, the Bald Eagle.
Polyphony's Eastern Screech Owl

Polyphony's American Crow

STATEMENT: When approaching September’s American Goldfinch, I chose to use a small, square fabric swatch as opposed to traditional paper. By confining myself to such a small surface, I was able to emphasize the small stature of this bird. This same goal was furthered by having the bird interacting with the head of a sunflower. By scaling the small bird beside the large flower head, the size of the bird would be put in perspective. Furthermore, the choice of combining acrylic paint and charcoal on top of fabric serves to create a texture that give this piece a folk art style. I decided upon this style because folk art often depicts and values the beauty in the everyday, which is befitting for the more common Goldfinch. September itself can be considered a more “everyday” month, presenting the last calm before the havoc of the winter holidays. In this way, the American Goldfinch is an appropriate representative of September.
Fabric; Acrylic Paint; Charcoal

8.5 in x 8.5 in

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Saving the Iowa Cultural Trust

Iowa Bird of Mouth is supported by the Iowa Arts Council, which provides administrative support to the Iowa Cultural Trust

When I learned about the Iowa Arts Council grant, I knew I wanted to create a home for Iowans' stories about birds. I've never heard people tell stories about birds like they do here. I'm originally from southern California, and when I moved here I was astounded by people's bird stories. Just chatting with a check-out clerk, for example, I'd hear amazing stories about crows, cardinals...you name it!. Stories that were intimate, animated and magic.

"Sure, everyone loves birds," people from elsewhere said.

"Iowa's different," I said.

Read the newsletter here.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Bird-a-palooza, April 1 at Story County Conservation

Come enjoy an afternoon all about birds! Go on a guided birding hike, meet a live raptor, create a bird feeding treat and crafts, play some games, and then participate in the Iowa Bird of Mouth project to write and publish a poem! This afternoon of indoor and outdoor activities is fun for all ages, but themed for preschoolers through middle school. This event is free and no registration is required.
Special guest star: a real live trumpeter swan!

FREE, PK-5, 1-3 p.m. at MacFarland Park
Story County Conservation 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Thanks for talking eagles, KHOI

Thank you, Greta Anderson​ and Pat Schlarbaum​ of the Iowa DNR for talking bald eagles and poetry with us this morning on KHOI Community Radio​! "Local Talk" will be on again today at 12 and 7. Below are the poems I read on the air, and one that just showed up this morning. Submit your words on eagles this month at http://www.iowabirdofmouth.com/ Anyone, anywhere can contribute regardless of age, writing style, or publication history. *Pat assures us that eagles do not kill livestock, deer or anything much bigger than a fish.
Ever so amazing
As chill as ice
Living to the fullest
Eye-sight of a telescope
Driving gravel on an arctic Sunday,
we came up over a crest and saw blood
smeared across the snow, gore
lining the muddy road through the field,
and three young eagles tearing apart
two deer they'd either found or killed*.
Mom and dad hung back on the hill,
watching us slow to take pictures
of their gigantic babies, bibs and beaks
red as the partridge berries that popped
from those ditches in March, spiked head
feathers fanned out, lethal goofballs
babble and bawk-bawking. "Family day,"
you declared. "Better than a trip
to Disneyland if you're an eagle," I said,
squinting into the white horizon for more
witnesses, more spring, more life.
She was almost gone at that point,
enough so we could start to make plans.
Bright for a February near Fish Town,
Skagit Bay another sun on the earth
shining upwards. On our way for groceries,
we saw one eagle in a field, then another.
I had never seen two bald eagles together
like that, and it felt like I sign, something
that would shift things forever, but it wasn’t
really, it was just a moment, dad and daughter
pulled over in the car, silent and breathing
for an singular instance before all we knew
took flight.
Spudge contemplates
the statuesque
visage on a high limb
above the river.
The white hooded
gangster spies the Spudge
along the shore.
Trout dog, anyone?