The Evolution of Owls
Aomori Prefecture, Honshu, Japan
May 2005
Herb Bastuscheck

The owls from my Japan beach have been evolving for over a year now. It all started when Sachiko picked up a jasper rock from our beach and remarked that it had a shape like one of our owls. (We collect owls from our travels, etc., and have well over 150 by now.) I picked up a black felt pen and a pen of white out and proceeded to draw in eyes, a beak, wings, and feet. We enjoyed the result and several more rocks were drawn in similar fashion.

I started making trips to the beach to mainly pick up rocks that I could see as owls. Dozens, then hundreds were drawn - mostly in the evenings as I would be watching TV. I began giving them to classes of students I taught, friends, as well as accompanying batches of beach rocks across the water.

I started picking rocks with depressions where I could glue groups or nests of owls and collected pieces of driftwood which could have holes drilled to glue on perching owls.

Then the owls evolved smaller and smaller, as I found smaller point sizes of the pens I was using.

I went through an amber phase where I only did translucent chalcedony/amber pieces.

Last winter I happened to notice a green glass shard on the beach which was the same shape as rocks I used for owls. The prevailing winds bring in a lot of glass floats - most break up at the shore and the pieces get tumbled and pitted from the action in the sand. I brought back a batch of glass pieces to draw, some were bigger sized and not owl shapes. I could picture drawing regular mountain scenes on the glass incorporating owls. The sand pitting makes a perfect surface to take the color from colored pencils. Thus the individual owls evolved into scenes including owls.

The circular area of the glass ball that develops around the tube used for blowing up the glass ball is thicker than the rest of the ball, so as the balls break up, the thicker round pieces are tumbled into fairly even circles. The point of contact where the tube is inserted often leaves a small glass bubble in the center. These small bubbles turn out to be unique shapes to draw owls.

I found a craft shop that has small metal clasps. These are glued on the back of owls with a glass glue to evolve into broaches. Some of the owls have gained bell cap tops and evolved into necklaces.

The process of owl evolution continues........