I started looking closely at birds at the very end of a year of personal losses. I had always paid noticed birds, but I had never really seen them before that time. I could not believe that they had always been my neighbors, present everywhere I go. It felt, at the time, as if they suddenly materialized in response to my attention.
The world seems rampant with this form of narcissism - a failure to believe in (or understand) anything until it comes into our field of vision. The only cure for our disease is to pay attention to what is close at hand and to believe in what we have not yet seen. This is the magical power of watching birds.
Optics (binoculars and long lenses) bring me closer to the birds, but paradoxically emphasize our distance from each other. The narcissist in me yearns to touch and hold them, but our error has always been in trying to own what we think we have discovered. I started making felted bird eyes almost by accident, as an intermediary object to satisfy my yearning. I use my photos as a direct guide, printing them onto felt, and then recreating them by touch using the old craft of needle felting. Each one of the pieces is the eye of a bird I have met.