Bird and nest artwork hatched following the death of beloved cats

A process that began with the death of two beloved cats will take wing this weekend when an exhibition celebrating birds begins in Castlemaine.

Artists Peter and Chelly Gray are putting the final touches on their annual exhibition at theShades of Gray Studio and Gallery.

Read more:

This exhibition came after the death of the couple’s elderly cats.

Mr Gray said it was a sad time when their pets passed away. However, it the aftermath of the deaths the couple had noticed new animals taking up residence around their home.

“Even though we had the cats inside most of the time, since their death we’ve noticed all these birds in our garden,” Mr Gray said.

That realisation inspired the couple to create a myriad of bird species and nests using recycled steel, copper, wire, tin and other recycled materials. 

Works created by Castlemaine artists Chelly and Peter Gray. Picture: NONI HYETT

Works created by Castlemaine artists Chelly and Peter Gray. Picture: NONI HYETT

Mr Gray said the couple had been creating pieces for eight months and would put their work on show when their latest annual exhibition began on Saturday.

“Our exhibitions are really about where we are at with our lives at a point in time,” Mr Gray said, saying each annual event reflected the past 12 months.

In 2014 building a chicken house inspired a “chooks and ducks” exhibition, while a veggie patch collection was inspired by work in the garden.

Mr Gray expected somewhere between 2000 and 2500 people to come through the doors of their studio and gallery for the latest exhibition.

Chelly and Peter met while studying ceramics at university in Bendigo and had since gone on to regularly exhibit together.

A highlight of their careers came in 1998, when their works were displayed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1998.

Their Castlemaine studio and gallery celebrated its 20th year in 2014.

The 2017 annual exhibition, entitled Birds & Nests, begins on Saturday 4 November and continues each day until Sunday 12 November. From then on, it will be open every weekend until Christmas.

The studio and gallery is located at the corner of Farnsworth and Brown Streets, Castlemaine.