"What we see depends mainly on what we look for." ~Sir John Lubbock

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Little Creative Flight

Recently I experimented with adding feathers to my pieces. I have added little found feathers every now and then, as an added detail to a piece or in a journal, but I had yet to use feathers as a focal point for a piece. That all changed one late night while I was cruising around on Etsy. I ended up buying some beautiful creamy white goose feathers I had come across that would be perfect for a mandala/found art piece (I am still working on that one). To me, they were the perfect addition that really gave this part of the piece a nice, dramatic statement. 

My first three pairs.
Since then, more feathers have been dropping into my life. I take these things as a sign. Feathers are full of symbolic meaning and I have a few interpretations of my own :) Then one day recently, a fellow creative asked if I'd be interested in making some feather jewelry. I've never done that before, I thought. Sure, I'll give it a try (with all of these feathers coming into my life, it seemed the appropriate thing to take creative flight with). My friend was looking for a dramatic look. These were for an upcoming website that will sell unique, edgy items and art. Sounded right up my alley...although I've never thought of myself as "edgy." But that's exactly what intrigued me. I like edgy. I'm not edgy. I want my art to be edgy. It just seems like my work doesn't come out "edgy." I thought, this could be my chance to dip my toes in an ocean of edgy. An opportunity to experiment with something outside the box for me. I started with three pairs of earrings, using some of the feathers she provided for me to play with--I kept her request of something dramatic in mind and ended up with the three pairs above, ranging from about 4" to 8" long.

After some encouraging feedback, my friend asked if I would be willing to go "edgier" with designs for just one super-dramatic-feather-earring. Sure! Then I thought how about making them an asymetrical set with a matching "studdish" earring that would still make it a pair? An edgy uni-set. She liked that and so I got to play around with more feathers and tap into my inner edgy-drama queen and came up with these three "uni-sets" and a couple of matching pairs (click for larger image):




This was an artistic challenge that really tapped into something inside me. I feel like I opened a door somewhere, for something new and different in my creative direction. Maybe not necessarily in jewelry, but definitely through some new expanded expression. I feel like I'm about to embark on a new twist in my creative journey, deeper wells :)


  1. Really love the moon dancers...I could see those on me at the Casino!!!!

  2. Yes! They would be beautiful! They are fabulous...they tickle your neck--not annoyingly so--but kind of sensually. For that very reason is why I just had to name the pink lovin' ones after the kama sutra, they're so sexy feeling against your neck (an erogenous zone!)!

  3. These are beautiful Michelle! Where do you source the feathers from? Are they cruelty-free? It is a factor i consider in my purchases, i try to live cruelty free and don't wear any animal materials or eat them or use products w/ animal ingredients or that do animal testing. I've always wondered about feathered stuff, how the feathers are come by.

  4. Hi OhGoddess, you pose an excellent point that really got me thinking now that I am working with more feathers. I'm embarrassed I hadn't really thought of it before--I just assumed feather were molted and humans collected them (naive?!).

    I've learned that my Etsy source for my favorite feathers are cruelty-free, naturally collected molted feathers for peacock and ostrich, however for the goose/turkey feathers they are collected by-products of a meat supplier. The seller claims they are "cruelty free" (as in they don't collect feathers off the live birds), but as to the living conditions before being killed and/or how the animals are killed, that is a question that still remains. Since "meat supplier" doesn't sound like family farm, I'd have to assume these are factory farmed birds. I'm torn between this as I'd imagine the meat is the primary incentive for income here, and that the feathers do not perpetuate the sad living conditions (you'd want to keep birds alive and with healthy looking feathers to keep your supply coming), that the feathers are a waste product w/little value. But that is merely personal speculation and I have not researched it yet.

    I'd much prefer to be able to promote "cruelty free" feathers, but currently I'd had to say any artwork/earrings using goose or turkey feathers were most likely the collected "waste" feathers from the meat suppliers. Peacock/ostrich feathers, cruelty free.

    My other two ETsy faves offer goose/turkey/chicken feathers (not dyed) that are collected from family farms as the birds natually molt, and of course from birds that have died.

    I have some new pieces coming up will include beautiful macaw feathers, these are collected from my in-law's birds, which have dropped the feathers naturally, so I can say with certainty those are cruelty free (I'm looking in to how to sterilize/clean the feathers) before I apply them!

    ONe thing I did initially think of to try to stay aware and away from where black market birds, their feathers, for fear of stimulating THAT market :(

    Hope that helps...thanks for the question :)