“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
                            — Emily Dickenson

Last year was not without its challenges, and artist Stacie Logue is one of the many who found themselves resisting — and sometimes succumbing to — discouragement in the face of unemployment. For the artist, the work may be scarce but the desire to create does not wane. As Logue considered the seemingly ubiquitous despair, she searched for a symbol of hope, something that would provide cheer and encouragement, something she could incorporate into a guerilla art project (whereby the artist places work anonymously in public places).

That’s when it occurred to her: the bluebird. People of all cultures, including the indigenous, regard the bluebird as representitive of happiness, prosperity, health and renewal. In her book Bird-lore, Mabel Osgood Wright wrote: “For the Bluebird was the first of all poets — even before man had blazed a trail in the wilderness or set up the sign of his habitation and tamed his thoughts to wear harness and travel to measure. And so he came to inherit the earth before man, and this, our country, is all the Bluebird’s country.”

 

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Cat’s Cradle Cat Rescue

Logue, who cites ceramics as one of her favorite mediums, decided to fire up the kiln and get to work making bluebirds to secretly distribute in semi-random Ventura locations every day of December. In her blog, where she documented the project, she explained, “The idea that art has an important place in our society and can lift the collective consciousness was my goal. I believe now is the time for some uplifting.”

As the days wore on, the delicate, glazed birds on pedestals took up residence in places such as the senior center on Santa Clara Street, a bus stop on Ventura Avenue, E.P. Foster and Avenue libraries, the steps of Rubicon Theatre, Lincoln Elementary School, The Kingdom Center, Surfer’s Point and Catholic Charities. Then something unexpected happened: Logue became hopeful. With no job to go to (she works as a costumer for various local theater companies in addition to selling her artwork), the act of sculpting the bluebirds and scouting locations for them gave her purpose. “It got me into a mantra of hope and staying focosed and positive.”

Friends suggested she sell the birds or at least attach a business card to them, but Logue felt that defeated the purpose. “That was hard for me to explain to people,” she says. “The point is, I’m putting it out there and hoping that my hope is contagious. It’s about the discovery, people going ‘Wow!’ How often have you been walking somewhere and you see a tiny little ladybug, and it changes your perspective for the whole day?”

 

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Color Garden

That sense of serendipity and magic that ensues when one stumbles upon a ceramic bluebird sitting at the entrance to the E.R. or peering in the window of a coffee shop, has the ability to remove us from the doldrums of worry and want, even if for one merciful moment, and remind us there is more to life. It beckons us to pause and reconsider the beauty all around.

This is Logue’s gift to the city where she lives and creates and hopes to work again, during a season that can be depressing, especially in times of economic uncertainty. A Santa Barbara transplant eight years ago (originally from Los Angeles), she has only positive things to say about Ventura’s art community. “It’s way more happening down here,” she says.  “It’s more edgy and it’s more affordable to live. The artists feed off each other.”

The bluebirds, 30 of which have been distributed (one mysteriously disappeared before Logue could place it), are one-of-a-kind, signed, numbered and dated art pieces that are free for the taking, if someone is so moved. Some of Logue’s friends said they wanted a bluebird for their own, and when she suggested they  take one from one of the locations, they reconsidered. Logue has returned to the not-so-secret spots to find some of the birds gone and others still perched on their posts. Who has possesion of the birds is as mysterious to Logue as the identity of the artist is to those who claimed the birds. She may still be looking for paying work, but Stacie Logue has quite possibly found her life’s work. 

To read about the Bluebird Project, visit stacielogue.blogspot.com.