The music of birds

Made by Cat McKeen

This was a piece I made for the Birds of Vermont museum for their annual art show. It is a phoenix made with paper mache and vintage music paper hand cut into feathers with a watercolor wash on the paper first.
I’ve always wanted to make masks and I cannot thank you enough Jonni for your marvelous videos that helped me create my musical Phoenix. This is actually the first mask I’ve ever made but it won’t be the last.

Paper mache musical Phoenix mask

6 thoughts on “The music of birds”

  1. Gorgeous use of mixed media in a piece!
    I love the color gradations in the feathers…and the detail in their design with treble and clef notes at the end of each.
    I, like Eileen, wonder about the curling aspect of those feathers…or did you protect them in some way?

    • Thank you Lisa+Anne!
      I wanted the feathers to move a bit so I didn’t go heavy on any protection, I thought the longer feathers would be better to flex so they didn’t fold and crack. I’m planning on doing another mask with different colors and shorter feathers that I will put some time of stiffener on the “feathers”, still working that out.

  2. What a great mask…hard to believe it is your first. I love the music on the feathers but I worry that the least bit of humidity will curl the feathers downward. Has it been done long enough to test whether that would happen or not? How did the art show go? Very clever mask.

    • Hi Eileen,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. I did use a very light mixture of water & flour on the back side of the feathers as I did want them to have some movement when the mask is worn.


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