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The National Trust
"Winter Twilight"


In 2017 I took part in a design challenge to create a Christmas Window for the Head Office of the National Trust. I was chosen as the runner up but the National Trust liked my idea enough to also include my design in one of their windows.

The brief was to design a window which reflected the theme of "Winter Twilight".  My idea of an owl flying out  from its roost as the light fades was what inspired my design. I used white feathers as snow flakes which in my mind sometimes look like feathers as they slowly and silently fall to the ground.

My owl started off as polystyrene blocks that were glued together and carved into the basic shape.  This was then covered in muslin with an additional coating of pva glue to make the form strong. The wings were formed from bent aluminium tubing and canvas wings attached which were covered in feathers made from cut pieces of fabric. The wings were attached to the body with a wooden block attached to the back of the owl.  

Feathers of various sizes were created by cutting into a variety of fabrics of different weights and textures.  Paper covered wires were glued down the centre of every feather allowing them to be shaped and pushed into the body of the owl. 

The front body and legs were covered in white linen that I frayed to create a fringed effect.

The face of the owl was created by pleating two lengths of fabric on a princess pleating machines and black sequins were used to create the eyes.

A beak was fashioned out of leather and the claws were created from thick wire covered with wool.

Michelle Smith


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