News / Arts & Entertainment

Artist Uses Special Skills to Create Wood 'Fan Birds'

Artist Uses Special Skills to Create Wood 'Fan Birds' i
|| 0:00:00
X
Zulima Palacio
July 18, 2012 7:02 PM
Cedar fan birds are not considered fine art but still they require skill and artful hands. These birds carved from wood have deep roots in Europe of the past when men, traveling far from home, sat around at night, carving and telling stories. VOA's Zulima Palacio tells us about Jeff Jacobs, a carpenter, who is now spending more time following his dream.
Zulima Palacio
Cedar fan birds are not considered fine art, but still they require skill and artful hands. The birds carved from wood have deep roots in Europe of the past when men, traveling far from home, sat around at night, carving and telling stories.

Jeff Jacobs has been a carpenter for more than 30 years. Now, he spends much of his time on his hobby: carving birds from a block of wood without a drop of glue.  A Michigan logger taught him how to do it 25 years ago.  

Jacobs requires a few things: wet wood, mostly white cedar; a good initial cut of the bird’s profile; patient carving that gives shape to what look like feathers and then, his least favorite part - sanding.  After sanding, he concentrates on the feathers.  

“This is the critical part, this is where you realize you got a nice bird or you wasted your time,” said Jacobs.  

As many as 50 slices of wood could emerge from a small block. But before the slices become feathers, Jacobs wets the wood for at least an hour.

Once it's soaked, he begins to fan the wings and weave them.  If there are enough slices, Jacobs will make a tail. Once the bird is dry, Jacobs dips it in lacquer.

Jacobs takes the birds to flea markets where he explains the process of making traditional fan birds and he sells each one for about $50.

While other artists produce larger birds, flowers and figures, Jacobs sticks with small birds, mostly hummingbirds.  Although he's made several hundred, he's still intent on making more - making them perfect and able to fly… well almost.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Loknath Manaen from: Nepal
July 20, 2012 12:14 PM
This is interesting to watch. You sent me a bird 2 months back but I had no idea about the precision and care with which it is carved and given that beautiful shape. It hangs over our dining table and swings silently with the wind it feels often unknown to us. What a gift it is. And what a gift of hard, concentrated work to so many others I am sure. Thanks.
Lok & Rose


by: Deb Furlong from: Scottsdale, AZ
July 19, 2012 3:36 PM
Does Jeff Jacobs maintain a website. The wood birds that he makes are beautiful. I would love to buy one, but have no idea how I would go about doing that.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."