This idea began last year when I started collecting bird's nests. For a project like this you have to plan ahead because abandoned bird's nests are a treasure, not rare but not in every tree either. They are also fragile and must be acquired with care. Some just disintegrate in your hands.
I knew I wanted to perch a nest in alternating corners of ladder, holding them in place with bittersweet vines twining up the ladder poles. Yesterday, I went to a local bittersweet patch at the end of a rural road armed with my clippers. I worked for a while to free a collection of bittersweet vines. I love them because they twist and curl in random ways. Each branch has character.
However they grow amongst the prickers so they are a challenge to collect. I wore long pants, a long sleeved shirt and gloves. Back home, I assembled a variety of things I tought might work in this display. In addition to the nests and vines, I got my pussy willows and feather collection.
My goal was to create nooks of vines that would support the nests. And then I balance the nests in the web of vines. Below is a robin's nest harvested from the top of the light on David's studio.
At this point I took a break to make some eggs. It was clear the nests needed eggs. I didn't have any and figured I could make and bake a batch quicker than buying anything. The DIY way! I made a batch of salt dough clay using an online recipe - 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1 Tbs veg. oil, water until it forms a ball.
Once I had the desired consistency, I kneaded it to blend well and then formed eggs in a variety of sizes.
These I baked in my toaster oven at 250ºf for 1 hour. They hardened up nicely.
By then I was done adding vines, nests and pussy willows to the ladder. I put a few tiny, wispy feathers in each nest along with a few of the cream colored eggs.
Thinking it could use more pussy willows but I haven't found any. Every April I hunt the roadsides looking for a wild pussy willow bush.
Today I am going to spend some time creating a post with an overview of a year of ladders. Check back to see the overview. Update: Just uploaded a post covering the entire year of ladders here. Worth a visit.
Here is a link to the tutorial on making the basic ladder.
Have you ever developed something that you used all year, changing it with the seasons? If so, share in the comments.
© 2013 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy
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