Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Winter thrushes in the Yew tree

Just outside my studio window is a vast ancient Yew tree - it's husband guards the entrance to our courtyard.

The male tree spreads its sturdy arms wide, he fills the air with his pale yellow dusty pollen in spring, then scatters the ground with spent rusty catkins. In autumn Tawny Owls converse from his high branches and in spring Cole Tits swing from his finger tips.

By contrast the female Yew stretches to the sky from an ancient coppiced stump. Bow-makers fall in love with her strong slender limbs. In autumn her branches are bejewelled with hundreds of thousands of soft red fruits and as the evenings get chilly and the first frosts still the leaves, she awaits the arrival of the winter thrushes.

I wait for them too, exciting the view from my window . . .

Song Thrushes use the topmost branches to perch and sing their exquisite repeated phrases; Mistle Thrushes raucously land on the swaying boughs and fill the air with their rattle-cry. From Scandinavia, Redwings arrive in the night and feast on the berries after their long journey south - and Fieldfares too with slate grey heads and rusty backs chattering and calling in the cold air.

The birds will arrive any day now - but today the Yew's lower branches are decorated with my festive Winter Thrushes . . .

They started life as quick sketches in my sketchbook . . .

and soon became carved lino blocks . . .

printed onto some lovely leafy paper, I soon had a flock of thrushes flying across the studio . . .

Some of the Winter Thrushes will soon be flying over to my Etsy shop - just as soon as the camera gets recharged ;-)


  1. This wonderfully descriptive post made my heart leap with happiness, Celia - thank you so much!
    We get Song Thrushes in the garden too - their songs are mesmerising.
    Love your festive winter thrushes!

    Jeanne x

  2. Will you be having thrushes at the galleries or the craft fair? They're simply gorgeous.

  3. Your thrushes are beautiful Celia. Lovely post too!

  4. This really struck a chord as we have two ancient yews too and just at the moment the berries are falling and coming into the house on my boots! Beautiful though, as are your thrushes.

  5. just a thimbleful....

    I love yew trees AND thrushes too, did you know that Mavis is the scottish word for a songthrush? Rabbie Burns - ' I have heard the mavis singing her lovesong to the morn...' Not that I can sing, unfortunately! I too decorate my trees outside, thank you for a lovely post.


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