British Birds by Mike Watkins

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Talented sculptor Mike Watkins makes these remarkable studies of British birds out of modelling clay and installs them on an assortment of background materials, sourced from their usual habitat.

 Each sculpture is assembled using WEST SYSTEM G5 five-minute epoxy which Mike uses to bond various elements of the sculpture together, including the complex supports and perches.

 “Over the last 40 years, I have made every species of British bird,” Mike told Epoxycraft. “The bird itself starts life as a lump of modelling clay, which I begin by shaping with my bare hands before using spatulas and other tools for the finer details. The base is made of natural pieces of wood combined with random stones and other materials to make the piece look as authentic as possible. This can include wire netting, rusty nails and other items from the countryside. They are all stuck firmly together using WEST SYSTEM G5 adhesive.”

WEST SYSTEM G5 adhesive is ideal for this purpose as it cures quickly to provide a powerful bond between dissimilar materials, especially non-porous items such as stone and metal.

 “I then hand paint each piece using gouache before applying a thin finishing coat of matt varnish,” Mike said. “The bird’s eyes have a high-gloss varnish to give them a life-like look.”

 The pieces are made to order and sized to make attractive interior ornaments. Of the sculptures seen in the photographs, the Arctic Tern is 12-inches high from base to wing-tip, the Barn Owl is just over 8-inches long and the Sparrow Hawk is a similar length. 

 Mike describes himself as a very ‘local’ artist, without a showcase website, and tends to exhibit at agricultural shows and art galleries around Hampshire. Sculptures are commissioned on an individual basis, with prices typically ranging from £65 to £250 depending on the complexity of the subject.

If you would like to find out more, or if you would like to commission your own particular favourite British bird, you can drop him an email at: mikewatkins@waitrose.com

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