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Submitted on
January 19, 2012
Image Size
1.4 MB
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456 (who?)
More Info - Swallow Gryphon by Magweno More Info - Swallow Gryphon by Magweno
The swallow gryphon is a handmade, unique, posable artist doll made by me, Magweno, *Carn-Dearg. :D

He has a wire armature and a fabric body which means you can bend his legs, back, tail, neck AND wings any way you like. The hard parts are sculpted in fimo, a polymer clay you can bake in a conventional oven.

Some interesting aspects... He has posable ears, which is new! Also iridescent paint on his fur, to stay true to a real swallows blue hue.

His wings are posable and fold like real bird wings! This is a technique I've spent years developing and it's still a work in progress really. I found it hard to get it working perfectly with such small feathers but it's still better than the wings I used to make. All my future winged dolls will have these wings.

The feathers have a sad story behind them. My Dad lives on a private shooting estate and one of the farms has a huge old clock tower. We used to go walking there when I was little, right to the top of the bell tower to peer through the keyhole at the room where the "giant" lived and rang the bell. I went back there last year for a visit and was sad to see the estate had blocked up one of the broken windows, which meant that all the families of swallows that were being raised in it hadn't been able to get out. They were all fledglings with little yellow beaks, the parents had obviously been able to maneuver out, but the young ones had died of starvation and become mummified. There were about ten or twenty little bodies piled up on the windowsills, strewn on the floor and up the stairs. It was so sad. I took a few of the nicer looking ones to put in my display cabinet because they are such beautiful birds, and the ones with decayed (but completely dry) bodies I took the wings and tails to use.

It has taken me a year to pluck up the courage to finally use these little bits in my work, but I'm really proud with how this guy turned out and while he might look a bit moth-eaten and sad it just reminds me of those poor tiny birds trapped in the bell tower and because of that memory and how much I cherish those little bodies in my display cabinet, I love him.

So I don't think he will be for sale or trade, but that's just my opinion right now. I only made him yesterday so he's very fresh, but in future I might, maybe, put him on Etsy.

Hey that sounds pretty gruesome but either I could collect them up and appreciate them and their sad story every day or just leave them there! And I'm a pretty thrifty person, don't want to leave perfectly usable feathers out to turn to dust...

Anyway I hope you like him, thanks for looking :)

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I do not answer questions about how I make my dolls, I consider these trade secrets and don't want to tell everyone how to do what I do. I consider it really rude to ask.

Add a Comment:
BittyKitty1 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014
This is absolutely AMAZING! One day I hope to do something like this... And the story behind the little feathers. I feel very sad for the birds, and I absolutely SALUTE you for having that courage- But I feel a little angry at the people who blocked out the window. I mean, it was broken, yes- But why trap innocent little lives in there? There could've been a way around that!

Humpf. Anyway, this is awesome! I'll be checking out your gallery for more of these cute little things!
BlueStoneArcher Featured By Owner May 14, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
MystikJinx Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
To some the story is probably gruesome. But seriously, the birds have passed away and isn't like you are making a memory to them anyways ^^. At least that is what I would do if I knew how. Hell, I bury birds in my yard that I find that have flown into my window and passed. :/ I just don't like seeing them laying there rotting so I bury them and say a prayer. I like what you do with the feathers. Also the birds are not protected in the United States, I spoke with a lawyer cause I had read a previous statement. So, your all good to go. I say keep making the memory's stay alive with your amazing talent ^^
Magweno Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
They are a migratory bird so I suspect they are illegal to keep parts of in the US, but they aren't on the CITEs list. Better to be safe than sorry :)
MystikJinx Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Didn't know that. They still look cool though ^.^
EdgeofFear Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
He's absolutely adorable, and the story behind his feathers is so sad. But you're right, better they get use than sit and turn to dust.
Getting the wings to fold like a real bird's is a stunning detail! And the pose-able ears, too. Amazing, and adorable. They help him to look even more lifelike. I may have missed reading it but is the beak a real bird's beak as well, or is that sculpted?
Magweno Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
:) Thank you
It was sculpted from fimo and then painted and varnished, based on one of my quails who very politely sat for me as reference.
Staarsa Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
D'awww! So cute!
copperarabian Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2012  Student Photographer
He's so pretty and what a sad story! Poor swallows :(

I'm pretty sure swallows are protected(all migratory birds are supposed to be) so it won't be legal to sell him. It's silly but even owning a feather of a native species (other then a select few) is illegal, of course we still do it anyway since such a beautiful work of art is hard to pass up. I'd look into the migratory bird act and see which birds are included before considering selling him.
Magweno Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
I live in the UK so our laws are different but I wasn't planning on selling him anyway :)
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