My book review of 'Nests' by Susan Ogilvy
One day, clearing up after a storm, the artist Susan Ogilvy found a sodden nest on the grass beneath a tree in her garden. She carried it inside and put it on some newspaper. As it dried out it was transformed and she was compelled to make a painting of it, at life size.
Hypnotised by the intricacy of the work and the variety of materials used, she started looking out for other nests and her obsession resulted in more than 50 bird nests painted from life.
These beautiful images are supported in this large format book with fascinating and personal accounts about the process of finding the nest and painting it, the materials identified (twigs, roots, grasses, reeds, leaves, moss, lichen, hair, feathers, cobwebs, mattress stuffing, string, and plastic), and what Ogilvy has learned about the bird's lifespan and breeding habits.
It's a surprisingly beguiling book which alongside these beautiful images, provides some intriguing details (wrens roost together to keep warm in cold nights with as many as 96 recorded as huddling together in one place). It will delight any reader.