Rusty nail shorebirds by Ted Muir
Ted Muir is passionate about carving birds. Sealed with natural finishes- to highlight the beauty of wood grain and structure- his one of a kind carvings offer up a much-welcomed connection with nature. That connection by no accident arose from a life-long admiration of nature and an accomplished career in natural history in Manitoba. In 1987 Ted co-founded the Prairie Canada Carving Competition and has been designing and crafting birds ever since. Over the past 20 years upwards of 700 of his carvings have figured into the fund raising efforts of major conservation organizations in Manitoba, and select provinces and states. He splits his carving activities between Winnipeg and Canada’s west coast, coaxing in bursts of joy waterfowl hunting or teaching others to carve or photograph wildlife.
Capturing the wonder of nature through wood
Ted’s signature carvings have become rusty nail shorebirds- characterized by antique square nails which are bent into the shape of bird beaks. The shorebirds, be they curlews or plovers, are fashioned from wood with a strong design feature. It may be a pronounced stunning clear grain or a funky swirl punctuated with bark intrusions, worm holes, fungal stains or splattered marble designs. Each of the pieces is mounted on a base coaxed from a century old farm fence post. Ted employs a diversity of woods including butternut, Manitoba maple, Russian olive, black walnut, black poplar burl, yellow cedar burl, Douglas fir burl, rocky mountain juniper, yew, Gary oak and buffalo berry. Exotics like zebra wood and tiger wood are occasionally pressed into action. Antique nails have been sourced across Canada- mostly from antique dealers.
The fashioning of shorebird art more recently has gave rise to hooded merganser decoys, weed pot vases, tea lights and Teredo wood deck cranes and gate birds.