One of the unexpected aspects of my journey in fly tying is the artists i have met along the way that use my work in there own mediums. It is truly amazing to me to have others put there time and energy into hand sketches, carvings, paintings and other forms. One of the many ways i get joy out of my time on the vice, is to know that time, power, love, and creativity that i put into my flies has sparked that in the mind of another artist to do the same. And in turn the work they produce is another mirror to reflect the on going and changing artistic process that I experience in my own fly tying.
Over the Last year i have worked on a few collaborations with Chris Parsons form Tin Crown photo. Chris uses a wet plate collodion process to take photographs of the world, A process i was vaguely familiar with. Since i was a kid I have always been infatuated with old tin types i see at flea markets. Those old photos always drew me in. There subjects were always standing proud in front of a camera, documenting there existence to the world as they really were. When Chris told me that he was doing a series of fishing flies it really made sense to me and i was beyond intrigued.
So set out to send him a special fly, One that i had thought of making for a long time but wasn't ready. A fly that was metaphor, and that in a way was like those old tin types i remember from being a kid at flea markets. Me to the world on a hook in a way, if that was possible. I had saved materials for its making for some time. The design of the fly was a sort of inverted wally wing dry fly, not intended to be a fishing fly, being made was all its purpose was, nothing else.
The Fly started with a Wood Duck and Hooded Merganser. Both feathers I acquired hunting when i was a kid, only 12 years old. I have always had an infatuation with waterfowl since i could remember. I grew up hunting wood ducks in my family swamp, the whistling sound of a pair of wood ducks through quite flooded timber is something that i cant explain, its like the ocean. Its a part of the natural world that i can feel in a way that maybe its not separate from me but somehow the same.
The Final materials i had been waiting for were for all these years were from my own yard. From a duck of course. Her name was Mama. The Matriarch of our flock who had come to us with her mate Grey a few years earlier. She was a Muscovy, Brown and White, Wild and determined to live her life how she wanted.
I had waited my self to be home for my whole life, and Mama is the symbol of the Journey. She was everything about home that i had been waiting for. And after she passed away i i reflected and knew her feathers were for this fly. The feathers from where i started as a boy to the feathers that came from the place that i finally was home.
The idea of the fly on a hook was only for myself in a way. I always wanted to put all those special materials together. And no one really would have seen or know its meaning other than me . The Idea of Chris portraying this fly with his process draws out the reasons. And for that I am truly grateful.