The Owl and the Mouse, 2.8.12

Found object assemblage, 18.5 X 23.5″ $300

When a photographer friend of mine offered a piece of broken furniture for use in my junk sculptures, I said, “sure!’ without really knowing what it was.

The mahogany fragment of a side table eventually became the owl’s horns, body and legs.

The piece was completed pretty quickly as I found things among my stash that worked well together: The wings came from a discarded club chair, the face is a concrete mixing hoe, which I cannibalized from an earlier piece, “The Gardener Is Drunk.”

(I do that sometimes if the object works better on a new piece. The Gardener needed to be rethought, anyhow…) It took me 5 minutes of strenuous work to hacksaw the stem. Whew! The eyes are faucet handles.

The little mouse in the owl’s belly was made from dug relics donated by my friend, Roy. The head was once a coach’s or ref’s whistle… the eyes are the heads of straight pins.

Owls always frightened me. Once, many years ago, I climbed up to an old, deserted Coast Guard watch tower. The bottom hatch was open and as I approached to enter up into the room, two enormous, white barn owls flew right past my head on their way out. I almost fell. They were truly majestic and awesome creatures – and successful hunters, for as I surveyed the ground below, I could see many small, white skulls of their prey…

Another close encounter occurred in the Arizona desert in the early ’80s. I was rabbit hunting with my brother, skulking through a large stand of mesquite trees, looking down for snakes. As I walked under a limb, I felt a breeze coming from above my head. Looked up to see a giant owl, hovering silently, flapping its wings (spanned 5 feet, at least) as it lifted off. The breeze hit my face.

It’s wired and ready to hang.