On The Wing

Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?

Sir David Attenborough

During the first lockdown in the spring/summer of 2020, like many, I took even more joy and sanctuary in my garden than ever before.  Homeschooling with two boys to entertain within the confines of our house and garden meant we were overtly conscious of the daily goings on in our mini oasis.  Delight was taken in discovering a hedgehog sniffling in the shaded ferns as it retreated to a safe spot for the day.  The boys created a large bug hotel from old ceramic pipes, bricks, twigs and pinecones.  

But no greater pleasure was taken than from our winged garden visitors.  I am always happy to see our resident robin dotting about; I am aware of the couple of fat pigeons that occasionally land, so rotunded that it is always a surprise that they are able to take wing with such agility; there are various finches and tits that deem our garden a safe spot for a brief visit and I knew our bay tree housed a couple of blackbirds.  Never before though was I able to observe and follow with such keenness the first few days when their new fledglings left the nest and spent a few days nestled within our garden before they were ready to take flight.  The cat was kept indoors, save his killer instincts took hold and we enjoyed trying to spot the brown fluffy baby blackbirds in amongst the foliage.  A real treat!

Garden Lodgers
Blackbird Fledgling

Aberlady, the village in which I live hosts migrating pink-footed geese.  By mid September the honks alert the arrival of autumn and over a three week period the cacophony crescendos before the last visitors head to warmer pastures.

Pink Footed Geese, Aberlady Bay

When designing a collection in collaboration with InStudio for their exhibition ‘Spring Rewound’ in May 2021 one of the themes explored was swallows. These murmurs and migrations of birds I was privy to inspired my Swallows in Flight and Gulp of Swallows fabrics.

I enjoyed working on a design led by birds and do feel an affinity with these creatures, so decided to explore some other common birds that flit amongst us and inhabit our garden as much as the flowers do.

On The Wing- Blue tits

With an attractive mix of feathers, the blue tit is possibly the most easily recognisable British garden visitor. Enjoying their fluffy yellow bellies and beautiful mix of blue, yellow, green and white feathers I decided to concentrate on translating these into my woven design.

I tried to create a geometric representation of these bright, colourful birds using a double weave structure to really allow the colours to sing against one another.  Twill weave incorporated within the blocks has helped to capture the texture of these feathery friends.

In time I would like to play with this design in some new colour ways and variations to reflect the subtle beauty and diversity of the common British garden bird. Perhaps my friendly robin will feature in time for winter 2023!

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