Hobbies are similar in size to a kestrel with long pointed wings and can look like a giant swift.  It is an incredibly fast bird capable of catching small, fast birds such as swallow ands swifts.  The Hobby is doing well on the levels so an ideal bird to do as one of the ‘thriving’ rather than ‘declining’ pieces as part of my exhibition at Ace Arts in Somerton.

I had known little about the Hobby until I read a chapter on them in my go to birds of Prey book ‘Raptor: A Journey through birds’ by  James Macdonald Lockhart.  His way of describing the rapid Aerial display of these birds really captivated me and I started the search for the perfect image to base a piece on……

I found this stunning photograph on Flickr by Jack Barnes and Jack kindly gave me permission to base a piece on this shot below.

Jack takes fabulous photographs and you can see more of this work on Flickr here

The process started as always with a quick watercolour, this makes me look really carefully at the feather patterns and colours I will be using and how I will construct the basic fabric image.

I have recently been painting details as stitch guides once the layered fabric outline is complete.

Below, the first look through my thread boxes brings out the most likely threads to use.

Using a hoop, this phase of stitching is almost complete.

I have used this backing technique on a number of pieces as it allows me to use key words that describe the bird in the background.  Drawing on James knowledge of the bird and with his permission I selected words that described the bird and its life in as simple a way as I could in this limited space. You can see below the backing marked out ready for stitching with an area left for the bird to be stitched onto.

Below, a close up of the final piece.

This piece is now available as a limited edition Giclee print in my Art Store here.