Beautiful birds and more…Project 3 so far!

Border Crossings, Photography, Sketchbook Work, Textiles

Over last semester and this semester, I have been working on a brief based on my identity/ culture. For my brief, I had to split my project into three parts:

  • Project 1 – My Identity/Culture
  • Project 2 – Developing from project 1 and then create a collection in my chosen specialism…which is print!
  • Project 3 – Taking parts from my first and second project and creating paper samples/drawings that represent the Slovenian culture.
I started project 3 with a couple of mind maps so I could get all of my ideas down and start developing my ideas further!

 So for part of my first project, I had drawn some coins as I wanted to portray my indecisiveness! as I’d say a part of my identity is my inability to make decisions! …Nightmare sometimes! For project 3, I thought I’d look at the old currency of Slovenia (The Tolar) and then the Euro. They changed to Euro in 2007 but decided that they wanted to have their own Euro coins as opposed to the Eurozone that is used in most European countries. The old currency is quite interesting I think, each of the coins has animals on it as opposed to heads or symbols like ours. I’ve never seen animals on a lot of coins…that I can remember anyway! so thought it was quite unique.

This is an examples of two of their coins showing each side.

As well as just drawing currency, I am very interested in drawing the animals and those that are particularly common in Slovenia. As a part of this project, I had to speak to students from Slovenia via email, Facebook, the university’s social network site set up for this project which is called “NING”. I have found Facebook particularly useful!  One of the students recently sent me a message telling me about some of the coins and the animals, the coins with the birds in particular:

  • 20 Stotins – Long – Eared Owl

  • 2 Tolars – Barn Swallow

  • 20 Tolars – White Stork

I think this could be quite an interesting approach to part of this project so I’m exciting to get cracking with it! When I was speaking to a Slovenian student, she said that the White Storks are on the coins and that Black Storks are quite common in Slovenia.

When I first seen these photographs,the very first thing my eye was drawn to was the bright red beak and legs! Against their black and white feathers, their legs and beak are really vibrant and eye-catching. When thinking about my colour palette for this project, I will definitely look at the animals for inspiration as of their vivid and interesting colours.

One of the Slovenian students told me some very interesting information about the Barn Swallow as it is a very common bird over there. She said that when she grew up (not in the city) that the older people said that when you see this bird coming back from a warmer country or part of that country, that spring has arrived. Also, they said that if a swallow is flying near ground, it is a sign of bad weather to come. I really liked the symbolism and the stories associated! The swallow is a very symbolic bird and has a lot of different meanings depending on the type or how they are seen. For example, swallows are tattooed quite a lot and thus they have various meanings depend on how they are drawn. Swallows are known as an old sailor’s tattoo and they were tattooed if the sailor had sailed over a great amount of miles. The swallow always returns home to their countries so a swallow tattoo symbolises the return home of a sailor and that they will always return home! Also, when Swallows are drawn in flight, it symbolises freedom. A very very symbolic animal!

I love swallows! the more reason to draw them as a part of my project.I also really want a tattoo and have been thinking of a swallow so maybe after this project, I might have a good idea of what kind of design I would like…who knows though!

One of the Slovenian students also told me that years and years ago, the people of Slovenia were very attached to nature and animals and so that is why there is a lot of stories and legends about the more common animals in Slovenia.

I am very interested in the bird approach because I really liked the colours and patterns. Even though there is a lot of common animals, I think the stories about the birds…the Barn Swallow, The Long Eared Owl etc are very interesting and would be exciting to look into! The Olm is another common animal in Slovenia and is very unique because it has only even been found in Slovenia. It is quite an odd-looking animal and there have been stories and legends that it is associated with dragons and dragons are a symbol of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Quite an unusual looking animal! The colours are very complimentary and are really beautiful.

So…That has been some part of my research so far! I have started project three and have been looking at currency at the moment so here is a few photographs of some of my work so far!



Here is a slide show of all my photographs and a few close-ups.

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