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It seemed very appropriate that as I was packaging this Swallows swinging sign, David & the twins shouted me outside as two swallows had just flown over our garden - the first to return from their winter home in Africa. When we lived in the city, the return of these agile, chatty birds is not something I ever gave much thought to, but now being on a farm just outside of Hawick the skies are filled with their distinctive sounds over summer - it was noticeably quiet when they left last autumn.
This swinging sign design is one that I'm really proud of. When we were initially approached about designing this, the customer asked to show some Swallows flying low over a pond - I couldn't imagine how this would work in a literal sense cut into steel, so I went for a slightly more figurative approach. The wildflower design at the top of the sign is reflected below, as if in water, with the Swallows flying centrally over it wihc I think works really well both artistically and in terms of fitting the customer's brief.
Seeing those first Swallows flying over really got me thinking about their epic journey, and how exhausted they must be! So I had a bit of a google and learnt a few things - firstly that until the 19th century, people did not know that these birds migrated south for winter, so it was just assumed that they hibernated! I find it amazing that these tiny little birds fly 200 miles a day for several weeks to reach their winter home in South Africa, and don't even stop to eat as they feast on flies whilst in flight. And, that many pairs return to the exact same nest sight - that's really incredible when you think they can find their way from Africa all the way to the barns of Borthwickbrae farm, when many of us struggle to get half an hour down the road without a sat nav! Looking forward to the rest of the flock arriving in the coming days; it really has been quiet without them.
This Swallows weathervane is one of our most popular designs - I love how the cut outs make their markings so distinctive and instantly recognisable.