Blue Kingfisher Pillow — Item 158

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Blue & Off-White Embroidered Kingfisher Accent Pillow.

This is a one-of-a-kind custom accent pillow.

This design has an interesting story behind it. First of all, the design is of a Kingfisher in the last moment of its hover — just before it dives. Besides the hummingbirds, this is one of the few birds that can hover. This type of Kingfisher is black and white. Sometimes it is called a, “Black and White Kingfisher,” or a “Pied Kingfisher” (Ceryle rudis). Wikipedia has some good information on the Pied Kingfisher that shows how the bird hovers before it dives. It hovers high enough so that fish can not see it against the sky. Then, just before it dives, it gets into this famous position. (It reminds me — John — of both a springboard diver and Jesus on the cross.) Then, it noses down and dives into the water. Its beak is designed to help the bird in this process. The kingfisher does not spear the fish with its beak. Instead, after it is underwater, it opens its beak and catches the fish in the back of its mouth. When it hits the water, a shock wave forms ahead of the bird that might alert the fish. However, the bird is traveling so fast, the fish can not move in time after it senses this shock wave. Anyhow, there are a number of interesting videos of kingfishers hovering, diving, and fishing on the internet.

Second, this particular embroidery design is based upon a beautiful illustration in, “Egyptian Birds,” by Charles Whymper (British, 1853–1941). I don't have a lot of information on Whymper, but he was at least an ornithologist and artist. This book was published in 1909, and is now in the public domain. You can download it at Biodiversity Heritage Library. If you are interested, this book has many other beautiful bird illustrations.

While the actual bird is black and white, we decided to to try to use embroidery threads that are similar to the colors in the original illustration. (A copy of the original illustration is shown in the sixth photo.) If you look closely, you will see many thread colors in this design. We decided this bird should not be centered on the pillow. Like the original, it is offset above the centerline. The design is truly an enigmatic glyph. It will be a very distinctive conversation piece for whoever owns a copy of this design.

This is a high stitch count design. John researched and digititized the design. Beth created the pillow design. She uses great computerized embroidery and sewing machines for the bulk of the work, then hand sews the final side shut.

The front center panel uses an off-white upholstery fabric with the embroidered design, and a blue fabric on each side of the center panel and on the back. Both of the fabrics have a nice soft feel.

This accent pillow would work for a wide variety of interior designs. Maybe — you would like a custom order with this design on a sweatshirt?

Availability: Sold/Custom Order

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This pillow's size is approximately 12″ x 16″ x 4″.


Cottons, Polyesters


This pillow includes a new, soft insert — which is hand-sewn inside.

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This design is great for: totes, bags, purses, pillows and sweatshirts.

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Bird, Kingfisher, Black and White Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Ceryle Rudis, pillow, embroidered, Charles Whymper, Egyptian Birds, ornithologist, hover, hovering, fish, fisherman, Jesus, Jesus on the cross, interior decorator, real estate agent, decor, British, eclectic, staging

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