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'Tui' Metal Bird by Phil Walters for Silo Design

‘Tui’ Metal Bird by Phil Walters for Silo Design
Tui are considered to be very intelligent, much like parrots or at least the smart ones. They also resemble parrots in their ability to clearly imitate human speech, and were reputedly trained by Māori to replicate complex speech Tui are also known for their noisy, unusual calls, different for each individual, that combine bellbird-like notes with clicks, cackles, timber-like creaks and groans.
(Image from Essenze)

There seems to be a recurring theme this week here at TSL. On Monday I gave you Jo Luping’s lovely ceramic bowls, which included images of New Zealand’s tuis and fantails. Then, yesterday we had Leila Jeffreys and her images of the iconic Australian cockatoo. And today, yet more birds as we return to New Zealand for Phil Walters and his whimsical sculptural interpretations of native birds.

I covet one of these and I may just have to visit the Essenze shop in Parnell for a sneaky self-Christmas gift when I am home next week. At just NZ$79 each, I think it would bring me so much pleasure to look out at my Sydney garden with a wee piece of home in one of the trees. Now I just have to work out which one is my favourite…

In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence. (Robert Lynd)

'Fantail (Piwakawaka)' Metal Bird by Phil Walters for Silo Design

‘Fantail (Piwakawaka)’ Metal Bird by Phil Walters for Silo Design
Known for its friendly ‘cheet cheet’ call and impressive energetic flying antics, the aptly (if a little obviously) named fantail is one of the most common and widely distributed native birds on the New Zealand mainland.
It is easily recognized by its long tail which opens to a fan. It has a small head and bill but large ideas, especially in the field of aerobatics.
(Image from Essenze)

Apparently, the inspiration for the designs first started with Phil’s interest in street art and installation. He had been in Bristol and was an admirer of stencil graffiti artist Bansky. Walters states, “Frankly, I loved the guys swagger, intelligence and most of all his humour. I was in Bristol, Banksy‘s home in 2009 looking at a Banksy exhibition and was pretty impressed with his cunning.

I sat on the plane on the 28 hours back home to Auckland wondering what my version of ‘Banksy’ could be and decided that I’d do something sculptural and in 3 dimensions. The idea of metal birds came from wanting to do something I could covertly hammer into lamp posts, trees and buildings in public spaces that would somehow beautify and add value, or at least not offend.

I ‘placed’ around 40 birds in the field around the North Island over Xmas 2011.

It turns out that not only did they not offend, actually people wanted them both for their gardens and houses and their own ‘public installations’.”

That story just makes me want one of his creations even more…

'Kereru (Wood Pigeon)' Metal Bird by Phil Walters for Silo Design

‘Kereru (Wood Pigeon)’ Metal Bird by Phil Walters for Silo Design
A metal version of New Zealand’s native pigeon, also known as kererū, kūkū, kūkupa, wood pigeon and most commonly as ‘a woody’. It’s reputedly the only disperser of large fruit seeds we have (ouch!), the disappearance of the kererū would be a disaster for the regeneration of New Zealand’s native forests
(Image from Essenze)

'Huia' Metal Bird by Phil Walters for Silo Design

‘Huia’ Metal Bird by Phil Walters for Silo Design
The Huia was a species of wattlebird that was found only in New Zealand’s North Island. Unluckily for the Huia (and for us) it became extinct in the early 20th century due to rampant hunting for mounted specimens (damn those museums and wealthy private collectors). Huia were also hunted to obtain their long, striking tail feathers for locally fashionable hat decorations. So Phil Walters is keen to bring them back, at least in spirit!
(Image from Essenze)

If you are interested in picking up your own piece of native Kiwiana bird life (and one that customs will have no problem with), Essenze ships internationally. You can check out all they have on offer here.

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