Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The swallow project

I have been working on a new project for a while now - the swallow project. I know some of you have already seen some of my swallow wall art, but these new pieces focus on the migration of our native British swallows, and the ideas that raises. I find it incredible that these tiny birds make such an epic journey each year. They leave us at the end of our summer and make the journey to the south of Africa where they stay for the winter, before returning to breed here in Spring. Everyone loves the idea of migratory birds, but I find it interesting and quite sad that human migration is not always held in such high regard.
On their journey, our swallows firstly pass over France and Spain, before they reach North Africa. Most will then fly over Morocco before flying straight over the Sahara, whilst some will skirt around it by flying over east Africa, the Sinai and Egypt down the Nile Valley, whilst some travel down the West of Africa. Some will travel over Nigeria, Chad, central African jungle, Congo, Cameroon... the list is long. These are well travelled birds. They travel about 200 miles per day, and can complete their return journey in as little as four weeks. They can fly places you and I would not be able to pass through, for reasons of war or just un-hospitable terrain.
The cost to travel through all these places would be huge - visas for all these countries alone would run into the thousands of pounds. For these lucky little birds, there is no passport control, and they are welcomed wherever they go!
I became fascinated by this journey, and began researching the patterns and textures that are seen in these places. Indeed I will be travelling to some of these places in a couple of weeks for further research into the designs and patterns that are seen in Spain and Morocco.
For now, the first of my series is ready, and here is a little taster - swallows over Morocco.

The design is inspired by Moorish and Moroccan tiles, and similar designs are found in Spain and other countries, because of the migration of the Moors and their influence. Indeed, similar designs are now incorporated into what is thought of as traditional Spanish design. 
I carved the design by hand into the porcelain for this set only, so they are a particularly special set. Firstly, I drew the design on in pencil, and then gently, slowly carved it out. 
Keep calling in to my shop see more designs as they become available!