More than once my mum had requested some note cards if I saw some nice ones. Standing in a shop one day perusing the selection, I recalled what I did for a living and thought – why don't I design some? So began a side project to create both my mum and mother-in-law their own personal boxed-set of cards inspired by their places of birth.
My mum was born in Penzance, Cornwall. For her card, I created a motif using the distinctive red beak and black body of the Cornish chough (its legs are also bright red). Cornwall's coat of arms has the chough proudly perching between the miner and the fisherman. Although part of Cornish history since at least the 13th century, choughs disappeared from Cornwall for twenty eight years. Luckily for Cornwall and its national emblem, the chough returned home in 2001 and has been successfully breeding again since 2002. The design represents the returning pair of choughs and the repeat pattern is a nod to the crimping on a true Cornish pasty.
My mother-in-law was born, and lives, in Melbourne, Australia. This pattern uses one of Australia's best-known native birds, the ‘superb lyrebird’. Shy and rarely seen, the lyrebird has the extraordinary ability to mimic almost any sound ranging from chainsaws, car engines, camera shutters and fire alarms, to plagiarising the individual songs of other birds. The pattern is inspired by the male bird's beautiful tail feathers which – unlike the upright fan of the peacock's – are fanned out and draped over its head during the elaborate courtship display. The pattern also features the delicate white flannel flower; a favourite of my mother-in-law’s. The yellow orbs are a symbol of the wattle; a flower so bright and sunshine yellow against the black aftermath of a bushfire.
I enjoyed this project so much I’ve decided to continue with additional patterns. Possibly next, tapping into my family’s Scottish heritage or perhaps turning to my own place of birth, Devon.
Cornish choughs - http://www.cornishchoughs.org
Cornish pasties (which never, ever, contain carrot) - http://www.cornishpastyassociation.co.uk/what-is-a-genuine-cornish-pasty/
The superb lyrebird and Sir David Attenborough on youtube.