Part of the Presidency's cultural programme are the souvenirs. The special Latvian gift to the delegates will be the svilpaunieks (ceramic whistle).
The clear sound of the svilpaunieks (ceramic whistle) tells the story of Latvian ceramic tradition - a craft perfected over hundreds of years that is still thriving today.
These Presidency souvenirs have been handmade by almost 40 different ceramic artists from all parts of Latvia. It means that every one of the little birds is unique. The oldest lady who has agreed to make 100 whistles is 83 years old, and the youngest artist is 26.
I've always loved the cheerful and busy activity of little birds. I hope my svilpaunieks will bring joy and positive memories about Latvia - the green country rich with bird songs.
Owl symbolises wisdom. Not only the knowledge and skills but also wisdom to see, feel and experience. Let the forest owlet bring you wisdom to see the little miracles in everyday life and appreciate them!
Beauty of our home, bird songs in the dawn, blue lakes - the memories inspire to create. Sparrow symbolises modesty. Dove bears love, human soul and the world, but the seagull is the symbol of freedom and life journey. My svilpaunieks embodies all of these values because they have a special meaning to my Latvia, too
School is where we love to be,
A place for us our friends to see.
We love the sound of ringing bell,
Calling us to class with glee.
Let the school time memories turn into a song!
When I was a child, I had only few toys. I still remember them as well as the magical sounds from the hand-polished bird. I hope it will be a warm memory to someone from me and Latvia.
Every svilpaunieks I decorated with a traditional Latvian symbol. Their variety reflects our rich culture. Let my starling svilpaunieks be its messenger to the world!
I created svilpaunieks larger in size and with more holes on its side so you could play a melody within one octave. My favourite songs for the svilpaunieks are lullabies, carols and folk songs.
Latvians see birds as messengers. A lark calls to weddings, a tomtit brings news from soldiers, a nightingale wakes the ploughmen in spring mornings, an oriole is the herald of rain but a corncrake foresees rye harvest. Let it bring the message you're expecting!
Forest in spring is peaceful. But as you lay down on the moss, everything changes and becomes alive. Experience the nature's sounds, movements, playfulness, worries and love. Nature is the kingdom of contrasts. You will see it if you take a break from your busy life. Let this little owl be the key to this kingdom!
My home and workshop is on top of a hill. Often we experience winds blowing from all four directions. So, naturally my svilpaunieks has a sleek shape with a slender neck so it can withstand the wind, fly and reach faraway lands.
I'm inspired by the well-known Latvian folk song: "Run little oriole, howler of hills, call me back home, the traveller of the world…" My svilpaunieks is this oriole flying in the world as a memory from Latvia!
Ancient Latvians used svilpaunieks in spring to shoo away the bad and call the good birds to help with the crop harvest in the autumn. Let the song of svilpaunieks blow away your worries and bring in luck and happiness not only in spring but in every day of your life!
God took clay and created human. Ancient Latvian in-between making clay pots created svilpaunieks - just to brighten up someone's day. And to this day we still do it. Is it a tradition? Certainly! But it's also a reminder not to forget to be happy while doing the important things!
This summer we noticed a beautiful and unseen bird in our backyard. Looking it up in the encyclopaedia we found out that it's a hoopoe - a rare bird species nominated as Latvia's Bird of the Year 2014. Celebrating this encounter we turned a piece of clay into this magnificent bird.
This svilpaunieks has found its way to you to start your tale with a tune. With 3 different sounds it will be the echo of your inner world and together you'll create a better world even if it's just for a little bit. It's worth a try!
I am svilpaunieks - a rooster from the Vidzeme Highlands' city Madona. The legend tells the tale of the city's name originating from the word "wake up" (modināt) and earlier the only wakeup call came from the rooster. So, in keeping with the tradition I wake up people for a new day, new tasks and challenges.
No other bird sings like the nightingale,
No other bird coos like the wood pigeon.
In the garden behind my workshop I always see birds flying and bringing me happy thoughts and pleasant encounters. Let this pigeon be the messenger of your happy days!
I create each and every svilpaunieks using the oldest ceramics technique from the Neolithic Era – hand-building. Now you know that every bird for each guest of our Presidency will be special and unique.
Svilpaunieks is so much more than a design item as traditionally both form and function of the whistle matter. I've always stressed the significance of every person's uniqueness, thus, I hope every person will find a svilpaunieks unique to them.
A little whistle. A Latgalian with brown feathers, white tattoos and a sticker. Makes four sounds. Single.
I create things that are practical and unpractical from different ceramic materials. Svilpaunieks belongs to practical ones, of course, as it can sing and make people smile. I wish everyone to have each day full of happiness and new experiences!
I take a piece of Latvian clay and mould it with my hands until a little miracle is born.
This clay bird is not something to put on a shelf to collect dust on. You can play the whistle by covering and uncovering the holes and creating archaic melodies of 3-4 notes which will take you back to the olden days.
Sky is where a bird belongs. When you look up and see its silhouette, it feels like its swimming in an ocean of clouds. Our bird is made of clay extracted from the ground and burnt in the fire. In this way 4 elements meet in a charm and the air travelling through it creates the sound of life.
Svilpaunieks is made of Latgalian red clay which is told to be one of the best in the world. It gives the bird its copper colour. By linking the sky with the earth and the air with the water, svilpaunieks' song comes to life with three different tones. Just place it to your lips and let the song enchant you.
I dedicated this svilpaunieks to my little daughter Anna. I feel inspired by ducks as they symbolise freedom. They can swim the waters, walk the earth and fly high up in the sky. I wish everyone to let the positive thoughts from the duckling bring back the joyful memories of the mischievous world of our childhood.
I spent my childhood next to a lake in Kurzeme - a place rich in blue clay. My sister and I moulded everything we wanted from it. Then, we dried our creations, painted them with watercolours and coated them with glue for a glossy finish. To this day, I create little birds with love to make their songs more beautiful!
When my wife was a child, her father gave her svilpaunieks made of wood - a forest owlet which soon became Tatjana's favourite toy and thus also the prototype of mine. We believe that the sound of the svilpaunieks will cheer you up and remind you of your childhood.
When I was little I saw a film about Latgalian ceramics and still remember the scene with a little boy playing a svilpaunieks. 20 years later and now a potter, I saw the film again and recognised my teacher – the little boy with the whistle. Let the svilpaunieks also bring you pleasant surprises!
Similar to Latvians, my svilpaunieks is modest but strong and unique. It's a child of nature and you can even hear it in its song when it brings the light and scares away the darkness.
The old Latvian tales tell the story of times when the God's sons married the Sun's daughters and people could understand animals and birds, when lakes were drifting in the air and the youngest son travelled the world to find happiness. "Go see and bring back the unknown," said the King and gave him a magic whistle...
You can find svilpaunieks in an old tale. Nobody knows how it has started and when it will end. When you blow the svilpaunieks, you can hear that once upon a time… and now it's your turn to continue the tale because the magic whistle is in your hands!
I'm a birdie from Jūrmala - the city by the sea. You would think that the seagulls are the only birds roaming the place, however looking closer in the shrubs and bushes, you will notice abundance of many little birds - and I'm one of them.
I'm from Riga -a city boy. Look up to Riga's church towers! Roosters sit proudly on top of them with the sunshine lighting up their frames. My big brothers are made of gold and copper but I am from clay. Play my song and it will take you back to Riga.
"People love being close to birds because they remind them what it was like in paradise," the artist Kurts Fridrihsons once beautifully said. New owner of the bird, be happy with the bird in your pocket!
I'm a potter in the fifth generation and I've been making these little whistles since I was little, since I can remember myself. Every bird turns out differently so I can surely say that each bird has its own song.
It's a gift to see the joy in a child's eyes. If this little svilpaunieks can put a smile on a youngster’s face, it has proven its worth. Spread the happiness!