About Me

Lindsay M Starr is a beadwork and mixed media artist currently based in Nashville, TN. She spent her early childhood in Alaska, and her school age and college years in Oregon. Lindsay has a great appreciation for history, science, and nature and is consistently inspired by insects, sea life, color, and the significance of beads and beadwork throughout human history. She spends her days beading, walking at the zoo, and practicing yoga. Lindsay loves to share her knowledge and passion for beads and beadwork to hobbyists of all skill levels.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Art Elements February 2019 Challenge Reveal - Birds of Prey

Where, oh where has this month gone!?  February seemed extra short to me this year.  Somehow I still carved out some time to create, so can't wait to show you how my birds of prey challenge went this month.  

For years I volunteered at Chintimini Wildlife Rehabilitation Center outside of Corvallis, Oregon. The organization  rescues, cares for, rehabilitates, and releases as many wild animals and birds as possible each year.  I specialized in training new volunteers, and rearing older orphaned (fledging) songbirds and raccoons.  Raptor care was handled strictly at the volunteer center, due to the specialized handling and housing needed.  Over the years that I volunteered, I was able to care for and observe most of the different raptor species that reside in the Pacific Northwest.  The main goal was always wild release of a healthy animal, but every year there were some birds of prey that could never be fully rehabilitated.  While some could be rehomed to other facilities, such as zoos and regional wildlife centers, some were kept at the center to be part of the education program.  Only birds of prey were kept on as education animals for Chintimini's outreach programs, as they never become fully tame and appear unappealing as a potential pet.  They are always a good example of why it's important to rehabilitate and release wild animals as quickly as possible.  Even after working closely with many types of wild animals and birds of prey, one species in particular is close to my heart.  

I have long known that barn owls are one of my spirit animals.   I had some outstanding encounters with them at Chintimini's, and also in the wild.  There is nothing quite as eerie as the scream of healthy barn owl...unless it's a night encounter as a ghostly pale shape soars silently past your head.  One time we had both an abnormally pale morph barn owl, and a melanistic barn owl in the clinic at the same time.  It was super interesting seeing such dichotomy in the same species!

I had glued down and partially bezeled a barn owl face cab by Jenny a couple of years ago, intending for it to be part of a completely different project.  When that idea went a different direction, I stashed this away in one of my boxes.  When this month's challenge theme was announced, I finally knew that it was time to finish my barn owl cab into something I could wear to share my love of this fine raptor.  

Barn owl face cab by Jenny Davies-Reazor, lampwork heart by Beth Mellor of BeeBoo Beads.  Peyote bezel, bead embroidery, brick and picot edging, and framed fringe.  Strung strap and sterling toggle
While I was pinning ideas for the barn owl necklace at the beginning of the month, I stumbled across pictures of what I at first thought was a kind of "goth" artist's interpretation of a barn owl.  I came to discover these beautiful owls are actually Greater and Lesser Sooty Owls from Australia.  They are of the same genus as barn owls - Tyto - which consists of 15 species world wide.  Just look at these gorgeous creatures!  They look so similar to a barn owl, but for some reason I was completely smitten with the coloration and had to try my hand at a sooty owl as well.  

First came the sketch.  You can see the list of pattern pieces I knew I would need to the left, and multiple ideas in between the two sketches.

I then drew, cut and tested a pattern for the owl.  I just realized, I'm missing the "bib" piece that goes under the face in this picture...pretend it's there!

Then I ordered some gorgeous fabric from this Etsy shop.  Beautiful long pile minky!  From left to right - Black/silver became the wings, gray lizard print became the body and underwings, mid gray is the bib, light gray tie dye is the belly and bottom, and the ivory is the face.  The short pile medium gray is the feet. 
And it all became this beautiful creature!

The body, wings and feet are all sewn from the fabrics pictured above.  The eyes and beak are ultrasuede, and the eye shines are vintage sequins. 
Meet Tenebrous - my plush sooty owl.  Not sure if he's a greater or lesser sooty...he's still shy.  I'm pretty pleased with myself that he turned out so close to my original sketches.  And the name fits too - tenebrous means "obscure" or "murky", and the latin root tenebrae means "darkness".  Fitting, isn't it?  I'm not sure if he will end up as a bed pillow or throw pillow on the couch, but either way, he's very good at cuddling.  Maybe I'll try my hand at patterning some more plushies in the future!  I've had enough practice sewing other people's pattern's at this point, it's a fun challenge to take the ideas in my head and turn them in to reality.  

I do hope you'll hop along and see how everyone else was inspired by birds of prey this month!  I can't wait to see what everyone else has been up to!


Team Members: 

Lindsay  You are here!


  1. Two such different pieces, both of them are wonderful!

  2. OH! Absolutely wonderful character!

  3. Love the way the owl's feet turned out! And the pops of color on the necklace are unexpected surprised--really bring out the beak!

  4. Lindsay, your necklace is fantastic - I love that ruffle! And your sooty owl pillow is wonderful! Thanks for sharing about them!

  5. OH wow!! I did not know that you volunteered at a raptor rescue. That would be such a dream job for me. I adore owls and also consider owls to be my spirit animal. I think barn owls are definitely the most beautiful. I am glad you finally finished your beaded barn owl. He is magnificent. The beading along the outer edges makes me want to fondle it;-) But your plush sooty owl....Wowza. He is so cuddly and cute. I do love the colors of this particular owl. You captured it beautifully.

  6. I met an American Barn owl at our rescue centre, the colouring on them is beautiful, europeans are much paler. Tenebrous looks very distinguished, you definitely need to make more toys, he turned out wonderfully!

  7. Your time volunteering sounds amazing.
    I'm so glad you were able to get back to that focal and finish it. It's always nice to finish those WIPs. Your plush owl is just too cute, beyond adorable!! I bet he's even softer than he looks too!!

  8. I can only imagine the thrill of being close to these creatures! I would name the necklace "The Barn Owl princess" - she looks so dainty! So many diverse beaded ornaments, some look like filigree! That cuddly plushy toy owl is fabulous!

  9. Tenebrous is a real charmer and he looks very dapper in his beaded necklace :)

  10. I'm sure your Tenebrous and my CarnyVore would get along famously! He is just so cute, I wanna squeeeeze and hug him all over :)). And that last pic of him wearing your pendant, so creative! Barn Owls and Snowy Owls are my faves to look at, have not had the great experiences you've had close up and personal. Alysen

  11. Oh no, I have also never seen the "goth" ones! They are also my instant favorites! I already had to save the first picture collage and the goth ones as well for future inspiration! The plush owl turned out so cute and it wears the necklace perfectly! :)

  12. Oh he is adorable, I love Tenebrous he can rest on my bed anytime :D

  13. Wow you must have seen, done and learned so much from your volunteer work! Your plush owl is just adorable - I'm sure he'll get a lot of hugs! :) And it's wonderful that you finished your necklace - it's turned out beautiful.

  14. I envy your close experience with owls. Your work shows your understanding of these wonderful creatures. I am amazed that just about everyone picked an owl for their bird of prey.

  15. You volunteering sounds like a lot of fun and a learning experience.
    I love your plushie "Sooty" owl - he turned out awesome. And your necklace looks awesome on him!

  16. How wonderful it must have been to be able to help all those wild critters. The sooty owl is a variant of owl I had not seen before your post. They are gorgeous. And your plush version is dang cute. The beading on that necklace is gorgeous.

  17. I had no idea that there were that many variations within the Barn Owl line... Thank you for all the work you did with helping rehabilitate all of those critters :) Your crafting work is amazing and I am so delighted to see what you are coming up with with these plushies!

  18. What a beautiful card. So nice colouring.
    clipping path