Escape at Twilight by Vanessa Valencia, mixed media on canvas. The woman is running away from a circus tent, carrying only a birdcage and umbrella.
For someone who's never owned a bird, I have a bit of an obsession with birdcages. I was reminded of this today, when my friend Vanessa displayed a wonderful vintage birdcage given to her by her grandfather. At antique fairs, brocantes and flea markets in Paris, I am always on the lookout for vintage birdcages.
As you can see, birdcages are a recurring theme at our apartment: in Vanessa Valencia's painting (above); in Sandra Evertson's birdcage couture doll (below) and Madelyn Mulvaney's photograph of an open vintage birdcage. To me the latter represents freedom and wings to fly.
Birdcage Couture doll by Sandra Evertson, now residing in Paris.
Sandra Evertson's doll was cast in papier mache from a reproduction mould of an antique doll, with most materials at least 100 years old. Her hair is made of curly lambswool. The pale pink ostrich plume came from a Victorian hat, while vintage paste jewels and millinery flowers adorn the rim of her antique tart tin crown.
The bodice of her dress is made of passementerie from a French ball gown, circa 1870. The first flounce of her grand skirt is a vintage bread pudding mold, dusted with touches of baby blue. Her layered tulle skirt was hand-dyed from a white wedding petticoat. Tiny blue velvet flowers are sprinkled over the gown, while silk bows with gold trim enhance the ruffles. The bustle over her ruffles is made of blue silk. And the 1920s bird cage that is her "dress" probably held songbirds! Sandra used old curtain trim with small silk tassels to embellish freshwater pearl ropes gracing her skirt. Perched on its own swing inside the cage is a baby blue bird!
In the bottom of the cage, Sandra pasted a collage of copies of vintage floral wallpaper and a print from a 1779 book Gallerie des Modes et Costumes Francais depicting hair and hat styles of the period. Her "fainting fan" is made from a vintage copper wire Easter egg dying "spoon." It is trimmed with rose pink, curled feathers, antique lace and small blown glass pearls. Sandra suggests using the doll as a revolving display piece, filled with glass perfume bottles or porcelain dolls.
Madelyn Mulvaney's Michaelangelo photograph was a special gift.