Blue Bird Calling
The little blue penguin is the tiniest penguin in the world and quite rare. Living down at the bottom of the world, this delightful little bird has become the Me Me & co symbol. The blue penguin represents the bringing together of extraordinary and beautiful brands from all corners of the world, no matter how remote. As our founder Carolyn Manaugh explains, “They remind us to celebrate the little things, as often they are the most beautiful.” On the other side of the world, in Gothenburg by the Swedish west coast, Artist Emma von Brömssen is surrounded by blue birds. Blue cranes swirl and dance from her dining room wallpaper. A camouflaged blue and white steppe chicken graces the fabric seat of an antique arm chair. Blue peacocks prance from cushions. She has created a vibrant and spectacular world of blue birds. She begins her pieces by sketching on a large white piece of paper, then filling in with Japanese pencils and brush ink. Emma explains of her birds: “I go into something deeply searching. Playing around with that figure and what it can be. These birds with their wings, these cranes are dancing. They are flying and dancing and they have direction and they create rhythm and pattern.” Her birds come to her in different ways. Her cranes are inspired by those she saw on a trip to Tanzania. Her steppe chicken she met in a museum. Looking at three stuffed steppe birds, she made them come alive in her imagination, and later, her sketches conveyed each bird’s personality. She says, “it is like a character in a play that I bring alive.” “I have grown up with birds since I was little,” says Emma, her father was a bird caller. She spent her childhood in the forest with him, binoculars in hand, looking for and recording bird calls. At home in their living room in the evenings, her father would play back the recordings and practice their sounds. “It was very silly and fun. But I am not so interested in their sounds as their shapes.” Birds are obviously a family calling. Now the eldest of her three son’s paints and fabricates birds out of clay. And why the color blue I ask? Emma replies, “I think blue in one way has minted me since I was little. My mum’s and my grandmother’s favorite color. I have grown up by the coastline and I love the ocean. The color blue is the ink that I use when I paint.” Blue is the color of Japanese Indigo and Chinese porcelain— two of Emma’s loves. She explains of her love of the blue china that in 1775, the ship Grothenburg wrecked on its way back from China carrying lots of blue porcelain. Emma says, “you can still find porcelain at the antique markets that has lain on the bottom of the inlet port.” The same joy of discovering something precious is in each of her marvelous blue birds.