Things are very quiet around here. Living in Snowdonia, I generally expect things to be quiet – but even for this tiny village on the side of a mountain, birdsong is suddenly dominant over traffic noise; the comments of breeding Ravens are loud in the quiet skies. Undoubtedly one of the few welcome changes to come out of the COVID-19 lockdown, and a good atmosphere to rest, think, and develop my ideas for future work.

However, I’ve been in health-related lockdown for several months now. Health problems followed by planned surgery followed by… unplanned emergency surgery… have made work of all sorts impossible since January: I’m just getting back to my studio and able to work and dream there properly again. Commissions have been slow (and thank you to my lovely customers for your patience!) and remain closed for the moment. But the one bright spot in the dark woods of today, is that I had anticipated restrictions to my strength and ability to travel, and stocked-up with enough glass and solder to keep me working for several months… seems prescient now… Finally I’m able to liberate the new ideas jostling for attention: Woodcock, a second Godwit, a series of small garden birds (Blue Tit, Robin, Starling?), Avocet, Osprey?? I have a Collared Dove almost ready to make,  and enquiries about a couple of ‘foreigners’ – a second Mauritius Kestrel, American Kestrel, Galah – and a hankering for something gloriously blue, Bee-eater or Kingfisher perhaps. Glass-shopping is a dangerous business, and the colours and finishes stimulate my imagination!

A month ago I was all set to announce a new collaboration with a local blacksmith, a man yearning to be able to do some freer creative work alongside his more conventional gates-and-railings repertoire. He has already made me a set of lovely hangers for the smaller pieces (Lotties and Barn Swallows) and is redesigning the hanger for the banking Barn Swallow; but we had plans to let his creativity loose on armatures for some of the bigger pieces – like the Curlew, Chough, Raven and Hen-harrier. But these pieces are so very individual that working together on them means *really* working together – matching delicate ironwork with solder-lines and glass translucency: so for the moment those projects are on hold.

Finally, BirdFair has (rightly) just been cancelled, which means I won’t be able to see you all there this year. I’ll do my best with photos, and have called in expert help to improve the Gallery on here. Some of my pieces are still available from me, and others from BirdScapes Gallery in north Norfolk: once I’m a little more caught-up I will also reopen commissions.

Take care of yourselves out there, keep a little space in your life for something beautiful, and chat to me by email or on Twitter (@fidhw)

Rachel