Swan maidens are found in folklore tales across the world. Swans themselves are often linked to the Otherworld and seen as able to move between worlds. They have been thought to shapeshift between their human and swan form by wearing their feathered cloak. The swan maidens in folk tales were entrapped by men who were enchanted by their beauty and grace. They stole and hid their feathered cloak, forcing the swan maiden to become their wife. In these stories, the man, and often his kin, believe that the swan maiden will bring their family luck and fortune so they force her into a life of domestic drudgery.
For many years she remains trapped in her human form with a part of her soul missing. The swan maiden cannot escape and leave without her feathered cloak and her husband knows that he will lose her unless she is forced to stay. Over the years children are born, children that are half of the Otherworld, with a swan mother from the fairy folk.
In all the tales, there comes a time when the swan maiden is reunited with her feathered cloak and without a moment’s hesitation returns to her swan form and flies away, leaving her husband and children behind. In some tales she leaves them with an ounce of hope, by giving them a clue as to where they can find her. The man then has the opportunity to earn her love and let fate take control. In others she is simply gone, never to be seen again.
Swans are a symbol that connect us to the unknown. It is said that to harm a woman will bring the wrath of the swans upon men.
Wheel thrown and hand sculpted swan with detachable head. Approx total height 30cm.To find out more about the making process click here.