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Ceramic and Mixed Media Bird Shadow Box

Ceramic, mixed-media and feathers come together to create this unique shadow box.

Sean Brown from Denver, Colorado, an artist and nature lover, collects bird feathers of all types and incorporates them into shadow boxes. Here's how he does it:

Materials and Tools:

terra cotta earthenware clay
underglaze colors
clear glaze
gold overglaze
tempered 14k gold-filled wire
14k gold-filled beads
bronze coils with patina
artist's brush
natural bird feathers
gouache paint
epoxy, silicone
11" x 14" glass
11" x 14" shadow box molding
11" x 14" archival mat with window
11" x 14" archival background matt w/o window
11" x 14" of 1/4" archival foam core board
11" x 14" of 1/2" archival foam core with window
double-sided mounting tape
picture-hanging wire


1. Wedge clay.

2. Cut bird and tiles out of clay; then create holes for appendages along the top ridge of bird with a dental pick.

3. Create gold coil for bird's crest.

4. Paint bird and tile with underglazes. Bisque fire bird and tiles in a kiln.

5. Glaze bird and tiles. Glaze-fire bird and tiles in kiln.

6. Overglaze bird and tiles with 22k gold. Fire bird and tiles.

7. Attach gold wire appendages with epoxy, inserting each into the pre-made holes on the bird.

8. String gold and bronze beads onto wire appendages.

9. Take unbeaded part of wire and wrap around the handle of an artist's brush so that the bird is now perched upon it.

10. Attach feathers to bird. Mount spacer on back of bird.

11. Cut mats and foam core boards (or purchase their pre-cut equivalent).

12. Assemble shadow box. Mount bird and tiles on mat. Stack glass mat, 1/2-inch foam core, backing mat, and 1/4-inch foam core and slide into shadow box.

13. Clean with soft cloth.

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