An audience with the kingfisher

Kingfishers are renowned for their beauty. They’re also renowned for their elusiveness.

I’ve only ever caught one on camera briefly after seeing a bright blue flash which I assumed was a damselfly. It was only when I zoomed in I realised it was a kingfisher!

I prefer to sculpt from my own encounters with wildlife, and this photo was pretty pants to say the least, so when I saw a few months later that Meltham Wildlife Rescue had just taken a very poorly blinded kingfisher in, I asked to go and see them.

Inside an incubator perched a very subdued little kingfisher, his colours muted, his eyelids closed over his eyes. I quietly sat and looked for a while before doing a few sketches to help my brain understand the forms that personally stood out to me the most. Sometimes my hands have a hard time translating what my eyes see and I think my brain is the stumbling block, so sketching and making notes help me when I get the clay out.

I’m so sad to say that our little feathered friend didn’t make it. I hope my sculpture is a fitting tribute to a king of the natural world.