Welcome to my birdwatching blog. This blog will contain stories about my bird watching trips, interesting bird news and other tales that may or may not be bird related. I want to make it useful to the avid birder as well as those who may only have a passing interest in bird watching. I enjoy photographing bird life, common and rare through a spotting scope, not that they always sit still long enough for me. Being on the outskirts of North East London, my reports will not only cover my local patch of Redbridge/Waltham Forest, but also dip into deepest Essex, Suffolk, Kent and Norfolk.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Guy Taplin and the good-looking birds with chiseled features

There are many famous people I admire, artists, musicians, sports players, political leaders and film stars. The list would be filled with people everyone knows but there would be one person on that list that perhaps would confound most. Guy Taplin.

Who’s Guy Taplin? Well, he was one of the finest 20th century observers of birds. His observations weren’t in the form of lists or photographs and he probably didn’t go around chasing rare species. He basically turned driftwood into birds.

Guy Taplin
I certainly hadn’t heard of him even though I love art and I love birds. It was only when a friend at work gave me his book as a Christmas 'Secret Santa' that he came to my attention. That was some SS, quite special.

His life story reads like a roller coaster. He left school at 15 and got sacked from most of his jobs. He destroyed over £2000 of stamps by pouring water into the stamp drawer when he worked at the Post Office. Feigned madness so well to get out of national service that he was put away in a mental home and so it went on. he got fired when working as a meat porter and when he dyed an Arab’s hair orange in a hairdressers. Then the 60’s happened. 

He moved into belt design and did well for a while. He then gave this up to study Zen and fell into working as head of wildfowl in Regents Park. It was here that he started to carve birds. A small gallery in London exhibited his work and ended up selling it all. Now his work can be seen in the Tate Modern and on Michael Palin and Jackie Onassis’ mantlepieces.

His work is magical and full of such grace and style that even mother nature must admire his work from a far.
Great Egret

I would love to be able to do this kind of sculpture and indeed, I will try (indeed, I already have some 'driftwood' I picked up from Rainham although it’s origin might be slightly dubious) but I don’t expect much of a result. Shoot for the moon though, isn‘t that what they say?

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