Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Book Of Wren

I'm woefully behind in my reading. A day in the city, a week focused on work. Full size art work done for the two jobs, now just waiting on the glass.

The wren box is now officially finished. I know you all are tired of this particular piece, it has taken so so long to come together but I am very very pleased with it. I've been wanting to move into multi-media for awhile and I think this is a first good step in that direction.

The scroll, with the story of the wrens raising their little chick, is made of parchment vellum, wood, thread and tied with raffia. The seams in the parchment are sewn by machine but I had to do the sewing by hand around the sticks.

So here is the last, and official, picture of the wren box.

The Book Of Wren
8”w x 8”h x 3”d
glass, bronze, vellum, wood, thread, raffia

the scroll
4”w x 1”h x .5”d

the scroll unrolled (out of focus, I know, but I didn't realize it til after I had rolled it up and now it won't lay flat for another picture.)

the scroll in the box
(also not a great picture)

the story:

The Book Of Wren

The wrens are
very curious
about our shop.

I see them in there
quite frequently
poking around.

It's attached
to the studio part
of the house and
I watch them come
and go
through the open

Last year
a pair built a nest
in the shop
in the rag bag
hanging on a nail
by the door
to the studio.

Every time I went
out the door
the wrens would
dash out.

Eventually, they
got used to me.

They laid two
little eggs
in the nest
in the rag bag.

One day I came
through the shop
and saw a broken
little egg
on the concrete.

The nest was robbed,
with one little egg
still in it.

This spring, the wrens
built another nest
in the shop.

This time they built it
on top of the motor
housing for
the door opener
that doesn't work,
up close to the ceiling.

They hatched one little
baby wren.

When the baby
was brave enough,
it fell-flew
to the ground.

It's parents were ever alert
and they coaxed it
out of the shop, into
the natural world.

They shepherded it
they fed it
they watched over it
they moved it
looking for food.

They taught it
how to fly
how to talk
how to forage.

They fluttered down and
flew up
down and up
down, up.

They led baby wren
in a circle around
the house.

Every day
I could hear it
feed me, feed me.

One day, baby wren
into the lower
branches of a

Another day
the lower branches
of a tree,
tail feathers almost
grown in.

It follows after
mom and dad
feed me, feed

I track the wrens
every day,
follow their migration
around the house.

I am learning

I venture too close
and baby cries

The parents have
the little wren
on the ground now
most days,
it must learn how
to feed itself.

They know
I am no

all three wrens
were in the shop.

Perhaps next year
I will have two families
building nests.


  1. Oh yes! I love how everything fits, the story of the wren, the scroll, the box. Thanks, Ellen, for sharing this all in one post. So often, we don't get the meaning and significance of things with just one view. You walked us through beautifully. What a great present you presented. Thank you.

  2. It's gorgeous! I love the story & it's perfect for the box.

  3. What a beautiful story...the icing on the cake that is your art!!!

  4. i love the whole of the artwork, your words, and your voice behind it all. steven

  5. The wren piece is wonderful as a stand alone....but the scroll and the story are the heart and soul of the piece. Wow, I'm in awe.

  6. thanks for sharing those thoughts.
    a pleasure to spend for your home.
    you have a happy weekend.
    a hug.

  7. This made me think of a cardinal who came into a greenhouse on the 7th floor of a biology building.It became everyones friend.

  8. Love it, what a treasure you've created. A very special piece of artwork, indeed :)

  9. I'm not tired at all. The best part of a great story is to experience the end, after having walked toward it with its creator. I love it!

  10. I hope you've spoken to the wrens about the icon created in their honour! What a tender and beautiful foray into mixed media - can't wait until you're fully immersed.

  11. It's a precious gem Ellen. I love the completed box and love the fact that it houses their story on the scroll.

  12. How could anyone grow tired of this piece or its story?

  13. Your wren box has got to be one of the coolest things I've ever seen! You made that?? And the scrolls and the story and the whole box is so unique and beautiful. What a treat this was to be able to see it and read the story as well. :)

  14. What a beautiful piece of work Ms. Ellen. The wren tale is really sweet- tragic- sweet and continues until you close your door...Such gorgeous art you do.

  15. Absolutely delightful!

    I am speechless with admiration and it gives me great pleasure that there is someone like you and that I 'know' you.

  16. Oh Ellen, this is just so beautiful. Master craftsmanship, true artistry, in the glass work and story. I'm just amazed by it. Really, it's museum quality - a collector's item. You can tell that a lot of love went into making this piece. I'm so glad for you. :)

  17. Loved this!! What an incredible piece of art, Ellen. I loved the story so much - it reminded me of the little picture of a robin sitting on her nest that I keep next to my bed. I watched all through the season as the nest was made, eggs laid and tended so lovingly during minus 0 degrees in Minnesota, and finally the baby. It was a beautiful thing to watch that process and your artwork reflects it beautifully.


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