news from the workshop: raven

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I haven’t made any birds or animals for quite a while now. I’m not sure why, just busy with other ideas I guess. I was prompted to start work on this silver raven after completing a commission – which I can’t say any more about at the moment, as it’s a Christmas present and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Ravens are fascinating and highly intelligent birds. They have a slightly unsavoury reputation, and can be associated with ill omen and bad luck. This largely seems to be because they used to scavenge for food amongst the dead and injured on battlefields. I think this possibly says more about the people having the battles than it does about the poor birds. In fact, the raven has much older symbolic roots.

In Greek mythology, the raven was sacred to the god Apollo, and was thought to be a symbol of good luck. For the celts, the raven was associated with prophecy, wisdom and the keeping of secrets, through its connection with the goddess Morrigan, and the Welsh hero Bran. The Norse god Odin was attended by two ravens, Huginn (Thought) and Muninn (Memory), which flew around the world and brought him news. The raven was also venerated by the Native Americans.

My raven was inspired by a pair that often fly over our garden, croaking as they go. She’s cut from silver sheet. She has a slightly textured surface, which I emphasised by oxidising the piece with an egg (yes, really), then rubbing back lightly to expose the silver on the raised areas, whist leaving the oxidisation in the small depressions.

As an aside, Hypoxia, the new album by Kathryn Williams is utterly enchanting. I listened to it a lot whilst working on this piece. It was inspired by Sylvia Plath’s autobiographical novel The Bell Jar, and it’s a fascinating exploration of some of the characters and situations in the book. Highly recommended.

Back to Ms Raven. She has a little loop on the back, which allows her to hang from a silver chain, and if you’d like to take her home, he’s available in my online shop now.


4 thoughts on “news from the workshop: raven

  1. I find ravens such intriguing birds, and love your piece here! To be honest, I’m not sure I ever saw ravens around, my mind thinks “oh, a raven” but then I realise it must be just a black crow or something else… Ravens are much bigger than crows, right?

  2. Also confused: blackbird, crow, raven? Whatever they are, we have lots of these magnificent creatures in the Haute Savoie. You have captured them beautifully!

  3. Ravens are bigger than crows, with a much heavier beak, and a ruff of feathers around the neck. In flight, they have a distinctive dismond-shaped tail, rather than the wedge of a crow. None of which helps unless you get close enough for a really good look!

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