Here’s some more family art. In the first two parts of the series I introduced you to some art on paper, made by my great-grandfather on my father’s side and my grandfather on my mother’s side.
But I’ve found some more.
Let me introduce you to a pair of wooden herons, made by my dad and my grandfather on my mother’s side, respectively. I remember that during the 1960s these were very fashionable. My family weren’t the only people who made them. There were some different patterns, which I suppose were passed on from one maker to another.
I don’t know who made which one of the pair. One of them is a little slimmer, I refer to it as ‘the female’. The other one had a broken neck and had also come off its stand when I received it. I glued it back together. The damage is barely visible.
I’m going to tell you about my grandfather (1915 – 1980) now. He was a carpenter and cabinetmaker. But he could also fix anything. After WWII he rebuilt the family home which was damaged by a bomb. He was always making improvements to the house. He also built a lot of the furniture for this home.
During the war he served as a soldier in Russia. He got severely wounded by a grenade and was taken to hospital. After he had recovered he became a POW in Russia. My mother recalled that a couple of weeks before the war ended, my grandmother was woken up in the middle of the night by him returning home. He had escaped from captivity and made his way from Russia all the way through (supposedly) Poland and the north of Germany. Under which circumstances, nobody knows. He never talked about it.
He had learned how to survive. My mother’s family never suffered from hunger like a lot of other people after the war. There was always food on the table – rabbits caught in slings, cows being milked or potatoes dug out under the cover of night, even an abducted pig as I understand it.
Granddad had a shack in the garden which housed his workshop. I remember it from my childhood. It was crammed up to the roof with pieces of wood of any kind. Large windows let in the light. There was a big workbench standing on one side. It was this place where he made any kind of crafty things. Another thing I remember was a log of wood with the shape of a heron sketched onto it. Apart from making herons – not only the one I’ve inherited – he also did some woodturning. And one year, according to my mother, he built himself a wooden stork as a costume for carnival – including a fully working beak.
My mum’s still using a box for her sewing utensils he made, but alas she wouldn’t let me take a picture. Not worth publishing, nothing special, she thinks. I need to convince her otherwise yet. One day it will be mine.