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!┬áThe 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.