The bird and glove art work for the creed was a project of its own. After surveying people from around the world we knew that a bird sitting on a glove was the most identifiable symbol of falconry to people who were not active in falconry. It also became apparent that the symbol of a bird sitting on a glove held deep meaning to falconers; it represents the bond and relationship between bird and man, but also the relationship and connection to nature and wildlife. This strong symbol stirs up sentiment and respect for nature in falconers, and also is a symbol of hope for the future of raptors, prey, and the environment. As humans we protect what we know and love, and this bond with birds and nature makes the worldwide community of falconers important contributors and leaders in raptor and environmental conservation around the world.
Deciding what species of bird would be sitting on the glove for the creed artwork was a source of great debate. When we surveyed people there were four clear front runners for the selection, the golden eagle, the peregrine falcon, the gyrfalcon, the goshawk. The goshawk and peregrine were the two universal front runners and had the strongest group of falconers rallying for their use in the artwork. When it came to making the final decision I did not want to offend my goshawk loving friends, or my peregrine loving friends. So I decided on a Gyrfalcon!! It also probably had something to do with the fact that I have two in our mews in the backyard, and my artwork involving Gyrfalcons is stronger than goshawks, or peregrines. I also have this image playing in my head of a gyrfalcon stooping and hitting a duck, so the final decision was made so I could go out hunting.
Embossing a subject is very different than painting or drawing. It took many drafts and proofs to get the image that was striking with both the depth and life that the project required. The bird had to sit at a 45-degree angle to present the identifiable features of the falcon, this meant turning the glove and adjusting the fingers to have the bird sitting properly on the glove. In embossing it is the relief features of the bird that make up the artwork, we could not use the color or markings of the bird, and had to use the outline of the feathers. We also had to strike a balance between exact technical accuracy and art appeal. We enjoy the end result and hope you do to.
The bird embossing is hand engraved on a brass die, and then pressed into the paper to create the embossing. The color in the bird is created using two hand mixed ink colors that are layered one on top of the other. Each print is passed through the press three times to make the bird artwork. One stray drop of ink, or print not aligned perfectly would mean a copy that no longer worked. The printing process is a marvel to watch. It is amazing given the steps involved that perfect pieces can be produced at all. We had a very experienced embosser and print crew that made this project so successful.
The ink coloring process is very intricate. Each copy of the creed is a unique piece of art. When the bird embossing color is applied there are many factors affecting how it will look. Even though all the ink was created in the exact same two colors, the paper may absorb it differently. This is affected by many variables including the pressure the press applies, the temperature created at the plate, and humidity to name a few. The end result is a slight variation in the color of each print of the creed which helps to create a true handcrafted, old-world work of art. We hope you enjoy it.