This year’s Phoenixville Firebird Festival will feature the work of senior sculpture major Brett Williams.
Williams designed the model for the bird that will be the showcase of the event. After doing multiple jobs for Charles Segal, an alumni painter from Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, Williams was offered the job of designing the bird.
“[Segal] has done a number of murals around Phoenixville and has been a part of the Firebird Festival committee, as well as a designer/builder of three of the nine firebirds. This past summer, he asked me whether or not I would be interested in designing the bird. I accepted and made a 16″ x 16″ scale model which is the engineering model that is used during the building of the actual 30 foot firebird,” Williams said.
Before he started the designing process, Williams spent time doing research to get an idea of what he wanted the firebird to look like.
“I did research on the history of the Phoenix in mythology as well as in different cultures. I wanted a majestic and almost oriental looking bird and did a few drawings of how I wanted the line of the profile of the head, neck, and chest to be,” Williams said.
According to Williams, this process would have been much more difficult if it weren’t for his Tyler classes.
“I would not have been able to have designed or helped build this year’s Phoenix without taking figure modeling, drawing, or Foundations 3D,” Williams said, “These classes have helped my eye understand the three-dimensional form of an object as well as helped my hand in craft and given me knowledge of tools. I have used so many of the skills I have learned at Tyler to bring this work to life.”
The crew, including Williams, began building the firebird on September 15 and expect to have it completed by October. The sculpture will measure between 27 and 29 feet high. With this schedule, the public will be able to view the bird for longer before it is burned.
“Volunteers come every weekend to help break pallets so that we have material to use as feathers over our armature. We have had over 23 other people helping over the last four weekends,” Williams said.
Although the sculpture will go up in flames, Williams is excited about the burning of his work.
“To tell you the truth…I’m a bit of a pyro, but also that was the purpose of this project. I hope that it will burn well and represent the mythology of the Phoenix, as well as have the people of our town enjoy the event and the festival,” Williams said.
The Phoenixville Firebird Festival takes place December 8.
To learn more about the festival, visit http://www.firebirdfestival.com/ and their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Phoenixville-Firebird-Festival/154484934574524