Life Stories from the Mountains – Cervo Volante in the Alpine Art House

In March 2021, the exhibition “101 × Woman. Life Stories from the Mountains” opened in Flims. A mountain of stacked boxes stretches over three floors of the Yellow House. On their mountain tour through the house, visitors discover 101 portrayed women who are connected to the mountains in different ways and in different professions and vocations. Female alpinists, scientists, mountain farmers or artists from all generations show their personal experience and their individual view of life in the mountains. “In making our selection, we paid attention to independent women who follow their own personal – and often unconventional – path. They are both a source of fascination and inspiration,” says Carmen Gasser Derungs, artistic co-director of the museum, describing the procedure.

Exhibits on display:

Deer leather bag: Traces of the wild life of a Grisons red deer mark the leather of this bag. That is why I have given it the name Sulvadia, the wild one.

Deer antler pole: Deer antlers remind me of the growth and decay of nature. The bony poles fall off the heads of the imposing bulls every winter, only to grow back in a few months.

The co-founder of Cervo Volante, Conny Thiel-Egenter is part of this visually powerful exhibition. Her various references to the mountain world and her multifaceted commitment to the environment of the mountains are reasons why she was also awarded “a box”: As a mountain hunter in the Engadine, as a leather processor from the Grisons deer to the international deer leather shoe, and as a biologist who researched the influence of the red deer on the alpine flora.

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A brief interview with Conny Thiel-Egenter – biologist, hunter and co-founder of Cervo Volante.

by Ariana Pradal

Ecology, nature conservation and mountain hunting – almost everything revolves around plants and animals for Conny Thiel-Egenter. The biologist is co-manager of an ecology consultancy and co-founder of Cervo Volante, a label that processes deer skins from the Grisons high-altitude hunt into shoes and bags. The inspiration for this came from the fact that these high-quality hides are usually burned and Conny Thiel-Egenter was looking for a use for this valuable raw material. Since autumn 2016, Cervo Volante has been collecting some of the deer skins directly from hunters and local butchers to produce high-quality, natural leather. Only hides from wild animals that are shot within the framework of sustainable Swiss hunting, which is strictly regulated by law, are used. As a hunter from Grisons, Conny Thiel-Egenter herself goes after chamois in September, waits for the stag or looks for grouse in October.

Conny Thiel-Egenter in the white house
Conny Thiel-Egenter in the white house

“The awareness of the enormous time horizons and forces that have shaped this landscape makes you put problems into perspective and become more humble.” Conny Thiel-Egenter

Could you also pursue your passion or profession in the plains?

I appreciate the plains and the urban areas where I live. But the loneliness and silence of a hunting morning in the mountains, the view of peaks and valleys, the sight of saxifrage, Mannsschild and Himmelsherold between rocks or the scent of the Swiss stone pine at the edge of the forest can only be found in the mountains. And I need that to live.

Have the mountains, the landscape and the alpine culture taught you something?

Not to give up, perseverance and patience. When standing at the bottom of the valley and looking up, a mountain peak can seem infinitely far away and insurmountable. Then, with time and along the way, step by step, it is no longer so far and difficult. By persevering on the mountain, I have also learned to be persistent in life and to persevere through challenges.

Read more about Conny:

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