Traditional Russian toy
I have been selling and showing my work in Birdwood House gallery, a fantastic space right next to the market, in Totnes. I have been there for seven days. Shame I blew my van up on the setting up day, I spiked the ECU or in other words fried the computer that controls the engine. This is either going to be expensive or I may have to buy a new van.
Anthea who takes all the bookings for Birdwood, saw my fan birds and bought in this toy which was made for her by Austrian POWs in the second world war. I have seen many versions of this toy over the years but this is the first one I have seen with fan tails.
I have it in my workshop for repair as one of the chickens has lost most of its tail. I am really taken with this toy, especially as it was made by a young country man who was caught up in a war not of his making. It shows great skill, and is probably made with only a penknife. Anthea said that these young POWs were worked hard all day and only had time off in the evening. This is a fantastic example of folk art and I hope to make a copy soon.