These brooches are not ‘actual’ birds – robins, thrushes and such – they are more a sort of representation of the way I feel about birds. I draw a design first then make a mould from the drawing and cast some pewter into it. The character of the bird only really happens after it’s been cast. They usually suggest a name for themselves straight away, and then I have to work out what it is they are doing. Ethel, for instance, had me completely baffled until someone pointed out that she should be carrying a magnifying glass, and then I knew that she was investigating the case of the missing teaspoons. Ivy is longing for something. She’s therefore longing for something that I have long longed for.
The bird’s name stays in the box while the bird and its owner go out into the world. The bird’s name and character are a secret between the bird and its owner. How the bird’s owner introduces their bird to the rest of the world is entirely up to them. Depending on how silly we’re feeling, Ivy and I often go out together as Consuella Smackjacket and The Honourable Fenulla Henderson-Smythe.