They sing, chirp, tweet, cheep, peep, chit, chirr, warble, trill... many swallows produce a lot of sound, but their sound is more like a pleasant rumor. One that announces the arrival of mild weather and flowers. Aristotle used to say that "one swallow won't make Spring", but when many can be spotted, then it's a clear sign that the cold days are over. 
They come over from Africa on a 20 000km journey returning to the eave where they were born. Always.

Sang, declaimed and perpetuated in clay sculptures that we scatter around our homes, the clay swallow is part of our culture and collective memory. The first record of decorative clay swallows dates back to 1891 and belongs to Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro. Different versions followed the first one, and since then they became a treasured token of the Portuguese Spring used for embellishing facades, chimneys and balconies here and there all over the country. They are like a signal indicating those arriving from afar where to build their nest. A yearly memory cheering up the ones missing the warmer days.

Invited by Primavera, Ermida Nª Srª da Conceição, studio Pedrita has crafted a special celebration for Spring 09 inviting 2000 clay swallows to return to Lisbon. A custom edition was specially produced by Bordalo Pinheiro using their original mold, and with a painted finishing developed specifically for the case of this installation. The swallows are scattered along Travessa do Marta Pinto indicating the way to Ermida, where they finally gather together on a scenic moment against the building's facade, revealing it to the passersby and remembering everyone about the charms of the season.

This is a project as we like doing them... simple. Working on it during a particularly cold winter, this project is filled with references to the Portuguese folk culture, and relates to the working tradition and highly relevant heritage of Bordalo Pinheiro that we hereby duly rem...


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  • JamieWilde
    JamieWilde commented
    about 6 years ago via iPhone