Some times I get crazy ideas, and this might be one of them! 😀 I am embarking on a huge project to create a life size metal peacock sculpture! I am building them out of a mix of media from copper, brass, wood, stainless steel and more. Each feather will be a separate piece and either painted, enameled, carved or otherwise formed to best serve the project.
I am working from a lot different reference material, but this image on the left shows the ultimate goal. I have always loved peacocks and have owned some (Indian Blues and Whites) in the past. The colors and form of these amazing birds is unmatched. My goal is to do them justice with my artwork. I’m using a lot of different techniques in this project, and spending countless hours – but it will be worth it in the end!
Recent Photo: September 8, 2020 – The feathers are almost done! 😀 Lots of cutting and soldering, but progress is happening!
Metal Peacock Sculpture – in Progress Photos / Story
In the photo of the wing below, you can see a mix of techniques. The top flight feathers are hand carved from padauk wood. Below them, the blue feathers are copper with a patina added in a fuming chamber. The dark feathers to the right are brass with a patina added, and the bottom feathers are brass with gun bluing adding for color. Each metal feather is cut and formed by hand.
How many tail feathers does a peacock have? About 150! That’s a lot of feathers to create one at a time. I’m using copper and cloisonné to get the colors and form I want. Below is an early photo showing the feather eyes in their first stage.
You can see the copper wire added and a first layer of enamel. The image below shows the same pieces with color enamel added.
Here’s a more recent photo – I have enough done for one tail now! Now I just have build the rest of the feather!
Here’s a photo of some of the ‘sword’ feathers that belong on the sides of the tail. These are made from copper, and then placed in a fuming chamber to add a patina.
I’ve bee working on the tail feathers and there’s a LOT of them! This is most of what I will need for one peacock.
July 2020: I’ve begun work on the base of the sculpture. I’m making 2 bases which will fit together, each supporting one peacock sculpture. They’re built with retractable wheels and handles that stows away for easier transport.
The ‘ground’ will be covered in a mix of leaves and grass (all made from metal of course) and a metal log with branches will be used to support the main sculpture. For the log I used the tube from an old Mr Heater propane heater and added a saw blade on end. I then welded the texture to it.
This was then mounted to the base, and here’s a photo of it in place with some of the grass. It’s fun watching this come together, but I have a lot of work ahead of me!
And here’s the full base on my new hydraulic cart! This peacock sculpture will be heavy, and just the stand was too much to lift onto my welding table. The cart allows me to adjust the working height and saves my back!
Here’s a closer look at more grass and flowers as I am ALMOST done with enough for one base!
August 2020: Here’s a short video of my working on the grass and the combined pieces that will soon be added to the base of my peacock sculpture.
August 13, 2020: It was a long night in the welding shop – then I ran out of gas. But… I did get one leg completed! 😀
August 18, 2020: Yesterday I started forming the body and soldering the frame together, then I built the wire mesh to cover it and added 2 of the legs I had built. It’s fun to FINALLY see a bird start to take shape after 5 months of work. 😀
And another long night helps fill in more of the body! 😀
August 21, 2020: I have finally got to the point where I can add feathers! Each feather is copper and hand enameled individually. After I made a large batch, each feather is hand soldered to the copper mesh.
August 28. 2020: Most of the back feathers are done and soldered on! I’ve also added some thin copper for the rougher feathers.
August 30, 2020: Here’s the first head getting assembled.
September 4, 2020: I finished forming the first head and attached it to the neck. Now I can start adding feathers down to the body!
September 6, 2020: Last night I cut out a LOT of feathers from scrap copper and today I’m soldering them on to the body.
September 8, 2020: Most of the feathers are done now! Soon it will go into the the fuming chamber to add a patina to the copper.