Animal Crests — Berlin

Family crests have always intrigued me. I appreciate and enjoy the symbolism (maybe symbolism isn’t correct in all cases — ‘allegory’ might be a better word in certain instances) found in the images and text displayed on rafters, shields or ceremonial pieces. Walking around Schloss Charlottenburg this weekend, taking in the awe-inspiring murals on the ceilings and humongous tapestries all tailored for that specific family (moreover Sophia Charlotte) inspired me to explore the theme a bit further.

I’ve sometimes wished that I could uncover one that might have pertained to my ancestry, but I’ve never had any luck in my research. Without a personal frame to start from, I decided to sketch out a crest that might symbolize what I’ve come to know of Berlin in short time here.

Bear; The Bear is a symbol of Berlin. He’s everywhere here (in pictures, not in real furry bear-form)
Magpies; Berlin has the biggest Magpies I’ve seen in my entire life. The huge, fat black and white crow-like birds dominate the empty spaces of the city. I love them.
Evergreen; abandoned Christmas trees are piled up behind most apartment complexes. I’m amazed they are all still so green and relatively fragrant in their spots in the yard. A lot of them have also been re-purposed to serve as insulation for more fragile plants (roses, etc) which I also love.
Hops; An obvious nod to the beer culture (apparently you can walk around with an open bottle of beer here) but one can also find hops growing along the remains of the Berlin Wall.

I have a few other sketches planned that work with this theme as well. I’m hoping to spend a bit of time on whichever sketch turns out to be my favorite and transfer it to one of the extra large sheets of drawing paper I brought along. For now though, I’m off to the art store to find some workable fixitiv… bit of a necessity when working with pencil 😉

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