British artist Sandy Gardner, who creates absolutely gorgeous cotton scarves that feature the colorful wingspans of birds, was invited by the Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire, England to create a bespoke piece for them. After studying the local avian population, Gardner decided upon the Bewick’s swan, a small holarctic bird, also known as the tundra swan, to represent the wetland conservation fund.
On a clear crisp evening I returned to the Slimbridge reserve during their floodlight swan experience. The birds shimmered in the light, their white plumage set brightly against the dark blue of the water and night sky. The stars twinkled above and for a moment it began to snow just a little. A pair of Bewick’s swans glided into view, one raised his body above the water, spread his wings and called out. The final artwork had just appeared right in front of me, a breathtaking, visual gift from nature.
While sheltering in place at the beginning of Spring 2020, Gardner designed an absolutely gorgeous scarf featuring images of the gorgeous swans with their beautiful wings fully spread. The pair of geese whom Gardner described during her time at Slimbridge and named “Romeo and Juliet”, is featured squarely in the middle of the piece. As restrictions eased up, Gardner was also able to get the scarf digitally printed onto its cotton base and ready for sale.
Like many during this unprecedented time, I found solace in the natural world and through creativity. Natures gift on that winters evening was now my therapy. Each day at home, as I endeavoured to capture the pure beauty of the Bewick’s swan, I was transported from the harsh reality of lockdown to the beautiful British wetlands. Weeks passed, the spread of the virus slowed and the artwork was complete. Working with local and British based businesses the detailed design has been printed onto the finest cotton fabric and hemmed by hand in my home town of Lancaster.
Gardner’s artwork is also bringing awareness to the fact these birds are endangered.
Each year Romeo and Juliet, like the many other Bewick’s that visit Slimbridge, undertake one of nature’s greatest migrations, flying 3,500 km from their breeding grounds in the far north of Russia to their wintering grounds in Western Europe. But sadly not all make it and numbers have dropped by a third in recent years. There are now less than 21,000 left. Predators, loss of wetlands, illegal hunting, poisoning by lead ammunition and collisions with power lines have all played a part in this dramatic drop in numbers.
This elegant, luxurious Artwear piece is versatile and stylish. It is the perfect adaptable accessory for your evening wear or day wear. The shape, size and beautiful drape of the fabric means the garment can be worn in myriad ways. Wear attractively around your arms and shoulders in the evening, sophisticatedly wrap it around your neck as a scarf or draw on its soft fabric protect your skin from the sun. With ease you can revitalise existing wardrobe garments by pairing the piece as a halter neck top, skirt wrap or simply drape over each shoulder. This attire would effortlessly take its place in your wardrobe as a distinctive accessory and would make a unique gift for someone special.
submitted via Laughing Squid Tips