I'm back to present what may be my favorite rhyme in the whole book. My sketchbook page may be a little misleading....I spent a bit of the early decision making trying to make the Naqara drum work, but later decided that I simply must honor the more ridiculous N instrument: the humble nose flute.
N is for Norah
whose cute neti pot
kept her purple nose flute
from filling with snot.
Anyone disgusted with this rhyme might want to refresh their memory of my W rhyme from Arfabet:
Sadly, I didn't take any process shots of the making of this piece. Here's the finished Nuthatch on a neti pot playing the nose flute. Well, almost finished--you'll see that I forgot that the nose flute was supposed to be purple! That's an easy change to make, so it will be purple in the book.
Looking for a nose flute video on YouTube turned out to be waaaaaay too much fun. As you will see, there's the more traditional shape of nose flute, which I used for the sculpture, and then there's a plastic version that is shaped differently. Still, this just goes to show that humans can't ever get enough amusement from things that involve our bodily orifices. I'll start with a few serious ones so you understand the instrument, and then end with some of the goofy stuff. Enjoy!
I have completed our bird and instrument for the letter M!
M is for Molly, whose mbira technique was to pluck with her toe instead of her beak!
When I was a kid, we had a little mbira. I'm not sure how we got it, but for whatever reason, I really loved playing around with it. Flash forward a decade or so, and mbiras came back into my life, when an artist friend would collect street sweeper brush blades that would break off, a routine event in their line of duty, and land near the curbs in the streets of Eugene. He would use them for various projects, including little mbiras for his kids. I started looking for street sweeper blades after that, and have amassed quite a collection of them, although I rarely have used them until now. I'm including a photo of what these blades look like so you can start looking for them. Anyhow, our mbira was hollow, so I assumed that my sculpture for the book wouldn't play, but to my surprise......
Fortunately, my version of the Happy Birthday song isn't close enough to be sued by the estate of Mildred and Patty Hill!
Here's my mbira playing Magpie!
This bird has iridescent green and blue feathers, which was really the big challenge of the project.
Magpies are one of the more intelligent not just birds, but animals on the planet, as it turns out. They are the only non-mammal species that can recognize itself in a mirror. And they mimic the stuff around them, as many YouTube videos will confirm. I'll leave you with my favorite: a British magpie named after soccer/football player Wayne Rooney who can properly introduce himself as such!
I'm going to start this post out with the video accompaniment, because I think it's perfect music for viewing this week's entry.
Okay, now that you have that playing in your head, here we go. I have been trying to post this latest bird for a few days, but am finally here to share one of the stalwart avians in my life, the Junco. There are a few variations of this species, but I had to choose the Oregon Junco because....well, you know.
J is for Jethro,
who led a jug band.
He ______________ (pooted a toot?)
all over the land.
J! A Junco who jams on a jug!
As you can see, I'm not quite done with the rhyme yet, but I'll get there.
I'm tempted to make a few more band members to accompany him for the book--we need a washtub bass, right?
One last note before I go, if you're going to be in the Portland, OR area this summer and want to see four of the Alphabirds, they will be hanging out at the State of Oregon Craft show at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, which opens to the public this Friday, June 5th. (I'll be there for the members' preview on the 11th, and the curatorial walkthrough on the 13th.)
Take care and thanks for all the sweet messages about Alphabird! It really helps me keep moving along.