Swallows – Jay Rubinstein



Maker: Jay Rubinstein

The original inspiration for this mobile was watching swallows flying into their nests in Spring.  They’ve always brought to my mind the Ted Hughes poem (although that is about Swifts) and the line

“They’ve made it again,

Which means the globe’s still working”

I’ve used a mixture of real wood veneers in making the piece.  Black Walnut is a beautiful wood which has a lovely rich colour and contrasts very nicely with the almost white Sycamore.  For the red splashes I’ve used Padauk.  I use a vacuum press to glue the veneers together so that they have the necessary shape and this gives me the chance to make shapes which are light enough to move easily and the wings to flap a little.


Sorry this item is sold.

About the Artist

I have developed my woodworking skills over the past 30 years or so but recently I have focussed on making larger and more ambitious wooden mobiles.

My mobiles are constructed out of natural wood veneers laminated together to create or suggest three dimensional shapes.  The veneers are less than 1mm thick which allows me to form them into the shapes I need.  Gluing two or more layers together means that they are held in shape.

The work involves numerous aspect and considerations, the different colours produced by various timbers, the shapes it is possible to make and the shapes it is possible to suggest, the stringing of the pieces and the movement available in the final piece. I enjoy the way it is possible to suggest shapes and connections rather than making them always explicit and the fact that at a shape can be two things at once, a flame and a feather or a bird and the scale on a fish.  Finally, of course there is the balance of all the pieces so that they hang correctly.

While the image I work with often starts with a poem, inevitably it changes and develops as I construct the piece. I can find myself returning to the same idea several times. Each time I find a slightly (or sometimes very) different approach. While often frustrating in the process there is a great satisfaction if I can finally produce the effect I’m aiming at.