Client: Mary Lucking
Location: Scottsdale, AZ, United States
Completion date: 2017
Birdie Umwelt; by Mary Lucking is a collection of sculptures and sandblasted designs located at the Mustang Transit Center and the Mustang Public Library in Scottsdale, Arizona. It comprises 20 bronze and stainless steel sculptures of house finches reading different books plus a birdhouse that mimics the postmodern architecture of the library.
The City of Scottsdale wanted to include public artwork that would encourage people to explore the area and to sit and enjoy the space while waiting for public transportation. Lucking achieved this by connecting the east side bus shelter, the library, and a greenbelt pathway with a sandblasted sidewalk trail of birds and feathers. In addition, she placed the bird and book sculptures in different locations around the area for people to explore and find.
The most challenging aspect of this project was making sure the waxes of the book would match the stainless "page" correctly. We received a template of the top page of the book that would have the engraved information. This helped us make sure that our pieces were as accurate as possible within the lost wax process. We also had to make sure the placement of the birds were correct without showing any seams.
One of the most exciting things that has come from this project is how City officials loved the sculptures so much that they requested 10 more bird and book sculptures after the first set of 10 were installed in 2017. The Mustang Public Library is also thrilled to have a public art piece that relates to the books in the library. For the summer of 2019, they have set up a scavenger hunt through their Summer Reading Program that has patrons searching for all 20 books, and if they find all 20, they will receive a prize.