Friday, October 14, 2016

„Schräge Vögel“ – Crazy Birds

Six weeks ago, when my family was visiting with my parents, we also went to the zoo in Karlsruhe. My son still likes going to the zoo, he hasn’t outgrown that yet, 

I love the hairstyle...

but the main reason for going really was that the zoo has a new attraction. Which is connected with my past. I used to be a competitive swimmer, and for quite a while the club that I belonged to had their swim practice in a pool right next to the zoo. A fe years ago that pool was closed down – and has since been refurbished and turned into a site that was integrated into the zoo, now housing exotic animals – birds, turtles and the like.
It was a bit weird to walk through that building, which hasn’t really been changed THAt much: you can still recognize the 10-m-dive tower, and even the wall decorations in the area for the children’s basin hasn’t been taken down.

This is were I learned how to swim. Now there be turtles!
As we were walking through the exotic plants and listening to some of the birds, even watching a sloth, 

I noticed some strange birds inbetween the plants.

And some more.

As I was taking pictures, a man started talking to me, and it turned out that he had made these birds from drift wood and scrap metal, that he was just in the process of placing these little sculptures all over the premises, and that it was going to be an exhibition, officially starting the next day. In a way a 'shop window exhibit', definitely an unusual place, very well suited for unusual pieces!

The artist’s name is Axel Birgin, and you can find his website (in German) here.

The exhibition is not on any longer – I just did not get around to writing something about it until now – but I keep thinking about these crazy birds. It remeinded me of a particular beach I visited during my first trip to New Zealand, on the West Coast below Haast Pass. I was there just before sunset, the whole beach was aglow with the last hour of sunlight during the day, very intensive coloring, just a magic hour. 

There was lots of driftwood there, and if I hadn’t been on a bike, I would have packed up the whole beach, or at least as much as possible. Even back then, long before I ever thought of making textile art, these pieces of drift wood were beckoning to me to do something with them. The only piece I took and then carried in my bags for the next three weeks still is with me today.

And it still is – perhaps a good enough reason to go back! (And yes, I just can’t believe it’s already been almost one full year since I left for my trip last year...)


  1. The "found shapes" of the driftwood made me think of the "found shapes" that happen with leftovers of fabric. It would fun to make some fabric "crazy birds" - !

  2. Hallo Uta, danke für deinen lieben Artikel zu meinen "schrägen Vögel". Auch ich habe im alten Tullabad das Schwimmen gelernt und es war mir eine gr0ße Freude meine Vögel dort zeigen zu dürfen
    LG @xel