Pica

 I am 30 hours of handmade love.

Wood and fiber fill my heart and soul.

Nearly 1500 embroidery stitches cloak my being, head to tail, wingtip to wingtip. 

Nature's beauty and magic is what I portray.

Pica is my name.

He has come to life and he is called Pica (short for picaflora cometa, the Spanish word for Red-tailed comet). The Red-tailed comet is one of nearly 300 species of hummingbirds left in existence. The males are known for their spectacularly long, iridescent, golden-reddish tails. They can be found mostly in South America and thrive in the woodland environment as well as around human habitation.

Pica is a custom creation inspired by Scout, Scarlet Elfcup's first hummingbird creation

Pica's body is made from mud silk. Mud silk is created through an incredibly fascinating process and dates back hundreds of years. It is also a very eco-friendly and sustainable process. This article, "Dye for Two Tones: The Story of Sustainable Mud-coated Silk," provides a very good take on the history of mud silking and talks about it's sustainability and eco-friendliness. If you want to see beautiful photos of the process, this site has a small article and lots of pictures. I chose mud silk for it's tight knit and firmness but yet still thin and pliable qualities. I wanted to embroider the fabric without layering backing into the fabric, which would add too much bulk for such a tiny creation. So, mud silk was the best quality for embroidering tiny stitches on a tiny object. Pica is stuffed firmly with 100% carded wool.

On top of the mud silk, Pica's body is decorated with nearly 1000 stitches of embroidery thread. I wanted to mimic the true patterns on a hummingbird. Their feathers are patterned in neat rows of scallop shapes and each strand is painted with an iridescent glow that is ever changing and magnificently brilliant. So, in order to mimic as closely as possible (by human hands anyway) the pattern and colors, I used embroidery thread to produce the smallest stitches that my clumsy hands can muster up. Between nearly 25 different shades and colors of thread, I embroidered each scallop stitch for stitch and changed the color tones as I moved along, in order to give the illusion of iridescence. Unlike Scout's body, Pica's body has several different colors infused...red, green, and a dash of violet. In addition, Pica's body contains feathered details on the underside made with light/neutral toned embroidery thread.

I contemplated for a long time how to change up the wing design on Pica and make it different from that of Scout's wings. Scout's wings were made of a 100% iridescent silk. This time, I wanted to have a little bit more fun and get a little bit more creative. So, I played with several different ideas....all of which did not look quite right on Pica....until I finally decided on the one design that would take the most amount of time and detail....embroidered wings (a brilliant idea offered up by my better half, my husband). Pica's wings are hand embroidered with over 500 stitches that cover both wings, top and bottom.

Pica's tail is made from a 100% iridescent silk lined with two different sheer fabrics made of viscose rayon, machine and hand stitched and then carefully hand frayed.

Pica's beak is made from wood, colored with permanent black pen and attached with a tiny dab of industrial strength glue. Despite the industrial strength glue, his beak is still rather delicate because of it's miniscule scale and should be handled with the most gentle hands. In other words, Pica is not a toy and should not be handled by children. Rather, Pica will be happiest strung from a place where he is free to fly and buzz about in the air.

Pica measures approximately 6 inches (15 cm) long from beak to tail. And he stands about a half inch (1.2 cm) tall.

Pica can be hung as an ornament inside the home or on a Christmas tree.