Leslie Blackford’s polymer woodland birds perch just the way they should but there’s something definitely wacky and endearing about them. Pictures of the flock she created at a Philadelphia Guild workshop demonstrate the point.
One wears a crown, another a cowboy hat. One smokes a cigar, several have outlandish plummage and cheeky grins. It’s easy to identify the birds but hard to put your finger on why they’re so appealing. While Leslie’s style can appear deceptively simple and childlike, students soon realize how difficult it is to accurately capture an essence and then veer into fantasy with polymer.
Leslie grew up in the woods of Tennessee and Kentucky with a botanist father helping her identify, study and appreciate the wildlife. The shapes and characteristics of each species were clearly imprinted in Leslie’s head. Maybe it’s her understanding and kinship with animals that startles us and makes us stop in our tracks.