Bird sculpture interview: “Every bird and idea has a way to be done”

Curious to find out more about the gorgeous paper bird sculptures I featured on this blog a little while ago I got in touch with Diana Beltran Herrera – the sculpter – to ask a few questions about construction, research and composition (and also to find out whether she had any upcoming exhibitions I could perhaps go and gawp at – I can but it requires a big old plane trip). Here are her responses:


How do you actually set about creating a bird sculpture?

I make the bird sculptures all in paper. I use normal paper, 120 gr, or some found paper  that has a bit of structure. I don’t know how many pieces each bird needs but they have a lot. I never count how many, I just make what the bird needs. And it takes time. I can’t say for sure how much as I’m working on [several] at the same time so as I finish one I’m starting another and working on another.

How do you research the birds? They’re so beautifully realised.

I have some books where I choose my birds and I have some photography contacts who make bird photography and I have links of pages and images my friends share with me, images I take of birds – maybe one day I find one in a magazine, just like that. But the most common website I use is the Internet Bird Collection where you can find almost all of them.

How did you come to start making birds?

I’ve always been interested in animals and bodies that have movement. Well, birds move extremely much and I am fascinated by the colour, the shape and just the mysterious thing to not have them in real life. Maybe I never see many of them or have the pleasure to meet them in life so that’s the reason – to come closer to them in a way.


How do you pose them for the pictures?

I hang the birds on strings and I try to catch them at a good angle, but before the picture I work on the position, trying to make them look like dancing in the poetry of space. Then I take the camera and try to shoot the best way to make them look like bodies that move, not just static sculptures.


I loved the dissection piece – was that a lot more complicated?

Dissection is not easy – or maybe nothing is easy. You need to investigate a lot and try to work with the technical parts. Each work is complex so I can say all are new challenges for me because I just make one of each. Every bird and idea has a way to be done.


Do you have a favourite?

I have many but I connected with the first colibri [a kind of hummingbird] I made – one pink and green. If I could be a bird I would be that one, or this is my representation in a  paper bird. That’s how I feel.

Do you sell a lot of your work?

I do sell some works. I’m working to hang a show with all my birds so I’m making a big collection of works but often I have to sell some to finance my upcoming works.

Can we see your work at any shows?

I am working on my first exhibition which will be in September in Bogota – it’s about abstract movements, round and geometric 3D paper shapes.