European Mute Swan

Type: Hatchery

I wish I could remember how long ago it was when I shaped my first swan. I’d love to be able to look at it and wonder how far I’ve come. It has to be over twenty years ago. I thi nk before I started writing on American Indian issues. This was the first animal I ever made. At the time, all I had was the white clay to work with. I have a later one I did though. I used a piece of driftwood I loved, made a tree with wire and seed beads. I then used plaster of paris and sand to make the backdrop for my white mute swan. The final touch was to paint the beck black which is actually incorrect for a mute swan. The beck is orange amd the beck for a trumpter swan is black.

It was natural I’d make a swan first. My children and were living back in Michigan after my divorce in 1980 and my mother raised mute swans for fun. there was one male who ruled their pond and whenever we took a cruise in the canoe, knew we’d have to watch out for him. I recall one day fishing off a steep bank and having him scare me up the incline. I was a comical sight with my pole flying along with me.

So I realize when people look at a swan swimming with its wings raised looking beautiful, I know what most people perceive as peaceful is just the opposite. I know I’ve destroyed a cherished conception but my art is about what’s real.

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