Furcula for Zoo Boise | Stephanie Inman

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Furcula for Zoo Boise


Furcula is a sculpture of an abstracted white-backed African vulture balancing on top of a single egg resting on a column. It is a public art installation designed to honor the vulture and make a wish to improve its future.

You can see some of the process in these photos. I carved the body and egg out of foam and scavenged (like a vulture!) for vintage silverware to incorporate for several “feathers”—and note the spatula for a tail. A lost-foam process was used (by the very talented Dirk Anderson of Anderson Foundry in Idaho City) to cast the vulture out of aluminum. I sprayed the metal column with automotive paint to resemble African textiles. The whole sculpture is about 13’ high and located near the Africa exhibit at Zoo Boise.

Historically persecuted and unappreciated, vultures play a valuable role in the environment as scavengers. Vultures are able to dine on and digest putrid carcasses that would be lethal to other animals – talk about the ultimate recyclers!

It is my hope that this piece encourages vulture conservation efforts. I‘ve named the project Furcula, another word for wishbone, as a wish for a brighter future for unappreciated birds of prey such as vultures.

Special thanks to Charlie at Boise Metal Works.