My name is Milan Vuckovic, I am a woodcarver, a painter and a falconer, in a word, an artist. It may sound unusual to some people, but the main connection between these three is, in my opinion, nature. Nature is where I get my ideas and motivation from. People say that each man is born with something. As a boy, I imagined myself as a knight with a falcon on my wrist. Later I realized it’s not just my imagination, but a feeling coming streight from my heart. I started practicing falconry actively in 2004. the same year I passed falconry exam and gained the title of „falconer“ in the „Nobilis Ars“ falconry club. „Austringer“, the name of my workshop, is an archaic name for a falconer who trains, flies and hunts with birds from the Accipiter genus, such as the goshawk and the sparrowhawk. I must proudly say that I make all the falconry equipment by myself. Making this equipment demands a high level of craftsmanship and a great deal of patience, therefore I can easily classify this as a rare art that is unfortunatly fading along with the spirit of falconry times. All of my works are genuine, so if you wish for a unique object that reflects the spirit of the ancient hunters and naturalists, you are at the right spot.
I choose wood type depending on the complexity of the motifs, size and depth of the carving and on the customers desires. My favourite works are miniature woodcarvings, small pieces that tell a story or highlight a specific moment. Most often, I carve them on the handles and on the gunstocks of the hunting weapon and often on some other objects.
My souvenirs are special and they are all characterised by a special value – uniquenees. Sometimes objects may resemble one another, they may have the same purpose, but they are never the same, each is uniqe.
A long time ago, there were craftsmen who made falconary equipment. A master craftsman had to have a lot of talent and knowledge of the dimensions and physiognomy of the bird, a keen eye and skillful hands. If I could only count all the hours and unsuccessful attempts before I managed to make my first ‘good’ falconry hood. However, thanks to my persistence and patience, I mastered this skill. I always use the best quality leather and the traditional techniques. Apart from falconry bags, gloves and lures, I make hoods that combine duch, arab and anglo-indian design, to which I usualy give some personal touch. The goshawk and the sparrowhawk are the birds I make all the equipment for, and so far my work has been based on these two species.
A couple of words on materials and craftsmanship
As I have already mentioned, nature is the source of my motifs, therefore, in expresing myself I use natural materials such as wood, bones and leather. I sometimes combine these three materials in making an object.
In woodcarving, I use different kinds of wood, bones and antlers. For its homogeneous structure, the bone is a perfect base for so called ‘miniature’ carving. Its brightness provides extraordinary contrast and this is why I use it for mini ornaments on various objects made of wood and leather.
I use leather for making small objects which I often decorate by painting or by usnig pyrography method. It is useful to know that it has been present through centuries. It was an inevitable detail in the past in the lives of warriors, knights, and in the present in the lives of hunters and naturalists. At some point it became irreplaceable.
In my workshop ” Austringer-art”, handsewn leather of the most quality combined with the traditional spirit changes into various falconry objects and necessities. Falconry hats, hunting bags, baits and many other objects become pieces made by skilled hands inspired by tradition and nature.