The grace and beauty of birds in flight has inspired a great of variety of artistic interpretations, but perhaps none are as unique as Quebec artist Eric Tardif's. His wood sculptures capture the elegant and graceful movements of birds through abstract expressions. But unlike most abstract art, Tardif's designs draw from a lifetime of close observation: “When I was a naturalist at Cap Tourmente National Park,“ explains Eric, “I spent countless hours observing and photographing many species of birds, with intimate exposure to their migration patterns, flights, and lives.“ Eric's close encounters with birds inspired a creative desire to convey their beauty through art, and to achieve this, Eric adapted an ancient technique to realize his visions – steam bending.
Steam bending is a process in which heat vapor is used to make wood slats pliable for builders. It was originally used to build boats and bows, as it allowed the wood to be shaped into curvaceous structures. Eric saw in this technique the perfect medium for his artistic ambitions, and he began experimenting with different kinds of woods, such as walnut, maple, ash, and cherry.
The results of his labours are the exquisite bird sculptures that reveal the gracious shapes and forms of birds in flight. As Eric himself explains, “Each of the pieces I create is produced to reveal the intricate poetry of bird life in its many forms. I have always aimed, in my interpretation and production of art, to render into sculpture the sacred space of a secular world.”