Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

The Nest by Betty Henderson

  • Title: The Nest
  • Artist: Betty Henderson
  • Medium: Copper
  • Size: 9.5'h x 5'w
  • Creation date: 2012
  • Added to collection: 2012
  • Donor: Student Art in the Garden project
  • Campus: Rock Creek
  • Location: The Learning Garden

A bird's nest in the wild is a wonder to behold. Nests are intricately constructed from a variety of painstakingly woven materials characteristic of the surrounding area. They are marvels of natural building techniques and studies in locally-sourced construction.

"The Nest" reveals its structure through its openness. It is meant to be playful and intriguing, inviting the viewer to approach in order to study its composition. The vintage textiles which are encased in copper rings are cut from antique feed sacks. Their colors and shapes evoke the berries and peas that a bird might encounter in a country garden. The colors are also reminiscent of the occasional scrap of yarn that birds find and use in building a nest.

Copper sticks and twigs have been forged and welded into the nest and copper blades of grass have been woven and wrapped. Similarly, feathers have been fold-formed and wired throughout the structure, providing an element of movement and sound in the blowing wind. A resourceful Mother Nature seems apparent as growth creeps up the post in vines of various forms. A nest represents a place of beginning. It is also a place of refuge and warmth. For a much-cherished fledgling, a nest also represents hope for the future.