Project Runway...Bunny with a Toolbelt Edition!

Hello again! Okay, so as you know, I have one last bird to make in the next 24-36 hours (just found out I got a little reprieve, as we install the show Tuesday, not Monday as previously reported!) Tripper gave me the above guitar to alter, which was a very nice thing to do after upping the ante with his fabulous hormone-enhanced ukelele I showed in the previous blog entry.

I decided to attack this project completely hands on, which is a way I often like to work with my more abstract pieces--letting intuition and improvisation lead the way. It's an especially interesting method when there is such a dominantly recognizable found object involved. But hey, I'm up for the challenge. First task is to get the neck off the guitar.

I've seen disembodied guitars before, and know that the necks are usually attached with two wood dowel pins, but when I saw the label that said "steel reinforced neck" I wasn't sure if they meant the frets, or if there was a hidden steel plate inside that neck that would make my band saw very very sad. Just to be safe, I cut the neck off with my hand saw.

Turns out, this guitar was just like the others, so I continued to remove the other hardware attached to the face. I really like this metal plate that was on the opposite end, especially the elongated heart pierced into its face. (hearts were another motif I used in my work for this show.) I might have to carry that into the finished piece somehow.
I have a box of assorted large lathe-turned objects in the studio--things I've gleaned from thrift stores and other venues over the years. I wanted to find something to use for the head, and came across this funny 70's looking...hmmm....what would you call this thing? A pencil holder? Future bird head, that's what I call it.

I started making the elements...beak parts were made from some discarded wood I had around, I'm tracking down some 1" dowels to use for the neck and legs.

Stacking various turned elements to build the head--it needs to be glued in parts, so I get this part together as soon as possible so the epoxy can set, which takes 5-6 hours. I need to have a second gluing session tonight before I turn in for the day, so I have to be strategic about it. There's a hidden dowel that's holding these elements together pretty firmly, but I decided to tape it while it sets because you never know what will happen when you're up against a short deadline.

Since this piece is meant to accompany Tripper's huge guitar, I decided to look to it for visual inspiration as well as scale. I love the two birds he painted on it with their feathers flying around in ecstatic fervor. I made a handful of feathers to add to the tail of my bird.

Here's all the pieces laid out on the shop floor. I think I might go with more of a filigree design for the tail feathers, but right now, I have to make a mad dash to the hardware store for a few things. Catch you later!


  1. this is fantastic! thanks for showing us how your creative visions come to fruit.

  2. At one point, I was kicking myself for making such a if I didn't have enough to do adding that huge project in at the last minute! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know someone appreciates it!