Tag Archives: uses for feathers

Blue Feathers Are Not Always Blue

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These blue feathers are the iridescent flash from a Melanistic Mutant Pheasant rooster... but other blue feathers are not just blue.

These blue feathers are the iridescent flash from a Melanistic Mutant Pheasant rooster… but other blue feathers are not just blue.

When we started selling natural feathers for arts and crafts, we started to wonder what made blue feathers blue. Right about the time we realized that black feathers were not always black.

Feather color is not always simply color… it is often far more complicated than just a pigment. The color elements of the feathers are serving a purpose – for the bird, or in a grander plan of world conquest through brilliant feather display.

This makes using feathers for jewelry even more exciting, because they come to our art with a history of their own – from the bird.

Blue was a particular question regarding bird feathers, because it isn’t a color that comes to the feather from the bird’s diet. It can often be a refraction, scything off a feather that looks black, but flashes blue in direction sunlight with a certain graceful turn of wing.

But it can also be molecular. Richard Prum, of Yale University, studied cotinga feathers and discovered that the blue color was a result of red and yellow wavelengths of light canceling each other out as they bounced off the internal cellular structure of the feather.

It still looks blue to us, but I think it’s exceptionally cool that feathers are so cool, inside and out.

Visit our site for a huge selection of cruelty-free feathers from our own birds, and from like-minded small scale backyard farmers. Super cool!

Famous Feathers – We Are Mad At Downton Abbey Now So Let’s Talk About Dog…

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Dog the Bounty Hunter wearing guinea fowl and peacock feathers. Dog rocks!

Dog the Bounty Hunter wearing guinea fowl and peacock feathers. Dog rocks!

We feel that the Season 3 Finale of Downton Abbey was un-called for, and gratuitous. Matthew had JUST achieved the American (meaning British) dream and – crunch!  So no more Downton Abbey for us. We object. We are on strike.

We don’t need no Downton Abbey to celebrate Famous Feathers!

We have Dog the Bounty Hunter!

In our quest for all things related to natural feathers, feathers for arts and crafts, and cruelty-free feathers, we celebrate those who celebrate them.

Dog is fascinating all on his own, but his use of roach-clipped feather cascades in his gloriously grizzled hair is riveting.

Dog did hair feathers before hair feathers were cool, that’s how cool Dog is.

I’ve seen him in Lady Amherst, Golden, and rooster hackle. This picture shows him wearing guinea fowl with peacock body feather accents.

We hope that his hair feathers were made with cruelty-free feathers. We know that Dog is wearing feathers because of his Native American connections – and we are more general feather artists, but nonetheless, Dog rocks. Dog rocks feathers.

Our supply of both guinea fowl and peacock feathers are available in the Feather Jewelry Sampler, which has a collection of feathers idea for making feather jewelry.

Some day, I’m going to make a hair feather extension like Dog’s and that will be a glorious post!

 

 

Famous Feathers – Downton Abbey (of course!) and the Reeves Tail Feather

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This wonderful feather, from Downton Abbey Season 3 – Martha Levinson arrives, is the tail of the Reeves Pheasant rooster. We raised that kind of pheasant in our flock, as well as others.

The historical fiction of Downton Abbey, Season 3 by pbs.org is not only fantastic, it is full of glorious feathered headpieces that are keeping me busy with my blog series about uses of arts and crafts feathers in history, literature, and film.

I hope that the creators of the pbs special are using cruelty-free feathers, because it matters, and that said… we have to give Shirley MacLaine our full attention.

She is playing Martha Levinson, mother of Lady Grantham, and for her triumphant (for her) and dreaded (for Lady Grantham) arrival, she is wearing a magnificent feathered hat.

The feather is from a Reeves Pheasant rooster. We raised Reeves pheasant, and we were lucky enough to raise a rooster (also known as cock).

The pheasant do shed their tail feathers, or they can come off in natural, non-tragic, accidents, like when our rooster-boy was basking in the sun on a cold winter day and his tail froze into a shaded puddle on the aviary ground.

When he took off, his tail did not, and I was able to scurry out with a blow dryer and extension cord and claim the tail feather. It regrew, but it took time. He was more embarrassed than injured.

Martha Levinson’s hat feather has been curved and trimmed, showing the exotic pattern in a very fine way. You can’t see how long the Reeves pheasant tail feather can get from this hat piece – it can be upwards of two feet long, tapering at the end.

I don’t sell the Reeves pheasant tails, but I do have their body feathers in my specials and samplers, as well other spectacular feathers from the crest and body. And other feathers that appear on the hats of Downton Abbey.

 

 

Martha Levinson, the mother of Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern).

Silver Pheasant Feathers For Arts And Crafts

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silver pheasant wing feathers at www.thefeatheredegg.com

Silver Pheasant feathers are perfect for arts and crafts and ours are cruelty-free feathers, even if the Silver Pheasant themselves were kind of predatory.

The Silver Pheasant is, by far, the most uber-cool bird for feathers for arts and crafts.

We raised our flock of pheasant in a way that means these are cruelty-free feathers. But the Silver Pheasant were not of the same philosophy. They hunted our other birds like a pack of raptors, but they did it with stealth.

We didn’t figure out what had happened to our Ringneck Pheasant until much later. We thought a predator had gotten into the pen, and then escaped after the kill.

The Silver Pheasant were the predators. Once we separated them, as we should have done in the first place, they stopped hunted. They didn’t attack each other. They did stalk us though.

The males are white with black markings, and the females are brown on brown. The males have glorious red face armor, and red legs – crowned with enormous spurs. Their chest and belly are clad in black feathers that are actually so iridescent that they flash teal, purple, green, and cobalt in direct sunlight.

When they are about three years old, their wing and tail feathers defy description. White with penciled black markings, no feather quite the same.

Silver Pheasant feathers are primarily available from overseas, and our stock is limited, but we are very proud to be able to offer them.

 

Famous Feathers – A Feather In The Hat For Downton Abbey

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downton Abbey at pbs.org has fantastic feathers

Famous Feathers In Art, Literature, and Film. My series begins with, of course, Downton Abbey season 3 at www.pbs.org

For anyone interested in feathers for arts and crafts, being able to recognize the feathers worn by famous people throughout history is a fun skill.

My blog series about Famous Feathers is designed to do just that. Although most of the historical feathers I will spotlight are probably not cruelty-free feathers, we can hope that modern artists are keeping that in mind as they create new ones.

This series had only just begun – (this is the first post) – when Season 3 of Downtown Abbey provided me with enough gorgeous, astounding, amazing, exciting feather headpieces to keep me going for a year!

Feather headgear in the 1920s and earlier was big business in the United Kingdom. It was not only fashion, it was also politics. Status, influence, public relations… it was huge. And the kind of feather, placement in the hat or bad, height, color, reach… conveyed a language all of its own.

The 1920’s, which is the setting for Downton Abbey’s third season, would be known as the Roaring Twenties in America, but for England, it was a time of change for the aristocracy – wearers of the famous feathers.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 had outlawed some of the feathers that used to be used in making the headpieces, so milliners had to be more creative with the legal feathers. They did this by shaping, dyeing, trimming, and using different parts of the same species over and over again.

We kick it off with the Lady Crawley and her elegantly understated wedding rehearsal hat. A dark cloche with a pinned up brim, secured by a floating froth of tan, beige, to dark brown – whatness? I’m guessing Ostrich floss feathers. The floatiest of frothiest plumiest floss that comes from underneath the wing.

I don’t currently sell ostrich feathers, because the cruelty-free feathers for arts and crafts for sale at www.TheFeatheredEgg.com are from our own flock of humanely-raised pheasant, partridge, quail, chickens, geese, ducks, and turkeys.

But someday, ostrich, emu, rhea!  I do have emu… which is a foreshadowing of the next Famous Feathers post. Who is wearing emu at Downton Abbey?

 

What Are The Best Feathers For Jewelry

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the feathered egg feather jewelry

While peacock feathers are a clear choice for beautiful feather jewelry, there are many other kinds of feathers that top my list.

Choosing feathers for jewelry making is the fun part. The birds themselves wore their feathers for jewelry, as well as for lifesupport – and we can see why. The feathers are gorgeous.

Cruelty-free feathers are getting more and more important to feather jewelry makers, because the artists use a small number of carefully-selected feathers, and put a lot of time and thought into the art. Good karma feathers are an expression of their art.

Pheasant feathers lead the feather jewelry market, but chicken feathers for arts and crafts are a close second. Chickens have an amazing variety of beautiful feathers and there seem to be more breeds every year, giving pheasants a run for most beautiful status.

Short wing feathers are a good place to start when planning feather jewelry. Layering the feathers on top of each other is popular, with the longest and strongest in the back.

Feathers with a wide body and strong color pattern are also a good back piece. These can be long body feathers, short tail fan feathers, or wide crest feathers.

Topping the piece with a smaller, brightly patterned body feather is my favorite part.

I use fluff feathers for texture throughout the piece, or as a backing to set off a single brilliantly colored feather.

The ornamental pheasant: Lady Amherst Pheasant, Silver Pheasant, Golden Pheasant, and Reeves Pheasant are a good place to start for feathers that make a centerpiece to the work.

Guinea Fowl have polka dot feathers, Chukar Partridge have black and tan barred feathers. Chicken roosters are the source of most hair feathers, and Buff Polish Chickens have feathers that suit every kind of jewelry project.

Turkey feathers and goose feathers are an excellent source of background or long feathers, and are the main source of feathers for feather fans.

Most of the feather jewelry for sale in stores and at craft fairs have these kinds of arts and crafts feathers in their construction.

For a mix of all the feathers mentioned in this article, check out the Feather Jewelry Sampler at www.TheFeatheredEgg.com. I put together these samplers out of my best feathers, reserved for my own jewelry making. But then I looked around at the, literally, thousands of feathers I’d put aside for myself and realized that not even an entire army of crafters could use them in a lifetime. I created the sampler kits and listed them as a group. Pictures of the feathers that are included in the sampler can be found throughout the site with the individual feathers – like the links in this post.

Even a single feather with a single bead can be breathtakingly beautiful. That’s the nature of feather jewelry. It’s already a natural jewel. We just put it where it can be admired.

 

 

Use Tiny Feathers As Doll Eyelashes!

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Silver pheasant feathers are graphically beautiful. They were part of our first flock at www.TheFeatheredEgg.com, and are amazing.

One of the most rewarding parts of having www.TheFeatheredEgg.com is learning what my customers do with the arts and crafts feathers that I sell.

I wasn’t totally sure what the smallest feathers would be used for, but they were so perfectly beautiful that I couldn’t resist collecting them when I had my flock of chickens, pheasant, partridge, quail, ducks, and geese.

These cruelty-free feathers were mostly from the shoulders and neck, and were tiny replications of the gorgeous patterns and shapes from the rest of the bird.

Then one day, I had an order from a lady in Maine who was making dolls. She told me that she was buying the feathers to use as doll eyelashes. I was amazed and delighted. I had learned something new about the uses for feathers, for arts and crafts, and for other things.

The care that crafters and artists put into their work makes it totally worth the niche market that I’ve found for my cruelty-free feathers. I don’t have large numbers of the feathers – because the mission I have for raising the birds and collecting the feathers doesn’t produce them in large quantity, but they are perfect for the purpose they serve.

And in this case, it was doll eyelashes – which I never would have thought of on my own!

 

A Flock Of Feather Craft Types!

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NaturalFeathers.com is TheFeatheredEgg.com

Natural Feathers is the feather dedicated site of The Feathered Egg. These cruelty-free feathers are from our own flock… and now are a part of feather craft worldwide!

My favorite part of offering cruelty-free feathers for sale is getting involved in the various different feather crafts that people are doing.

Sometimes it’s through conversations with customers shopping for just the right kind of feather.

Sometimes its research I’m doing for my own feather art.

But always it is amazing what people are making with beautiful natural feathers.

My flock’s feathers have joined the biggest flock in the world, and craft by craft, I’m determined to watch them fly… my Feather Craft Flock!

  •  Feather jewelry
  • Hair feathers
  • Feather butterflies
  • Feather masks
  • Prayer fans
  • Dreamcatchers
  • Decision feathers
  • Feather birds
  • Feather trees
  • Feather fans
  • Feather wreaths
  • Feather painting
  • Wall art

And more… featherloads of ideas… I’m really fluffed over the fantastic potential.

 

Peacock Feathers For Arts And Crafts – Symbols and Facts

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Feather Jewels at The Feathered Egg

These tiny peacock body feathers are ideal for feather jewelry. They are sometimes hard to find, unlike the more common tail fan feathers.

Although I did not raise peacocks in my flock, I knew a woman who did, and kept her birds in the same way I did, resulting in cruelty-free feathers.

Her male peacock had fallen in love with her Rhea, and every year he molted. Every year, I bought his fallen feathers.

In this way, I had plenty of peacock feathers for arts and crafts.

The peacock tail feathers are the best known. The eyes on the feathers can turn away the “evil eye” and can symbolize all-seeing wisdom.

I loved the body feathers, because some of them were miniature versions of the tail feathers, complete with eyes, or with rainbow edges – which I used to make delightful small feather jewels.

The long feathery fronds that run up the edges of the tail feathers are called “herl” and I think they are great for mixed media texture, or grouped together for a different kind of feather jewel.

Peacock feather care is similar to our own hair care, except when blow-drying, it is easy to burn the floaty ends of the feathers, so be careful. They can be lightly soaped, washed, and then if you spread citronella or cedar oil on lightly on your hands, you can groom the feathers back to their natural shape. Clean and protected from bugs.

Peacock feathers are included in the feather sampler collections I have on my site. Gorgeous feathers from happy birds.