Wednesday, February 9, 2011

cloth with wings

The dark blue rayon was a woman's dress from Goodwill and the lighter blue cotton from stash. Using the loom idea from Spirit Cloth's class, I wove the blues on a shoebox-lid loom and set it down near a little vase holding Northern Flicker feathers. One thing led to another, as it usually does . . . why not weave in those feathers? As I basted the strips and wove in the feathers, the flickers were right outside the window at the suet feeder. It was as if they were giving me permission to use their feathers.

                                                                                                                                                                         cloth with wings

I stepped out the back door to look for a branch or something to hang it with -- found this stalk in the nettle patch. Yes, I have a stinging nettle patch right near the back door. It took literally years of inviting Urtica dioica to grow here, but finally she came! I adore stinging nettle.


This is a small piece, about 8" x 8" -- it may have a different calling than to be a wall hanging . . . some ideas are forming.


I have a practice of picking up whatever feathers are in my path, seeing them as gifts from the birds. Northern Flickers seem to leave their feathers for me on a more regular basis than other birds. It's been going on for a few years now. I find other feathers, too, but these orange beauties are in the majority. For this piece, I turned them underside-out so that the more colorful side shows. I don't think I'll stitch them onto the piece just yet -- sort of hate to stitch a feather down, that just feels weird to do -- but if the cloth is to truly take flight, they must be fastened down . . .


22 comments:

Emmy said...

great idee it is very beautiful

deanna7trees said...

love the way your piece looks on the branch. i had used some feathers in one of my pieces and then pulled them out because i wasn't sure how to tack them down or whether they would withstand washing. i just saw a video on making clothing from nettle. looked a bit like linen in the video.

woman with wings said...

Emmy, thanks. I think feathers can pretty much make anything beautiful!

woman with wings said...

Deanna -- I love your name by the way -- I know, I thought about that, too, but birds get wet, right? Wouldn't that be something to actually make cloth or rope from nettle -- I have some nettle yarn, very rough but cool.

alsokaizen said...

Ahh crows and blue jays seem to leave me the most gifts, a flying cloth... this generates so many ideas!

deanna7trees said...

yes, you are right that birds get wet, but i was thinking of the spine splitting. here's that nettle video. it's very interesting:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QSvdAZeOxw

Herm said...

love feathers, like I said on CWB, the blue with the brownish of the feathers is great together! it's too bad we do not get Northern flickers in Portland.

woman with wings said...

Alsokaizen -- yes, flying cloth!! Crows are my next best sources for feathers. Only have a few bluejay feathers. You are lucky, they are so beautiful.

woman with wings said...

Deanna, yeah, I didn't think of the spines. Maybe it's best for them to be removable. Love the video, thanks!

woman with wings said...

Herm, thanks -- the orange of the flickers is pretty much our only bright color right now. Not many bluejays around for some reason and even the goldfinches have their drab winter coat on. But that'll all change soon!!!

helen said...

(salo) the creativity of everyone is awe inspiring. I love the feathers. food for thought: how often would one really have to wash it if it was a piece of art?You are fortunate to have these feathers available.

woman with wings said...

Helen, thanks -- yes, I am very grateful for the feathers. You're right, it will depend on what the piece is for. And it's too early to make a decision on that, I'm pretty slow on these kinds of things. Like it may take years, even! Ha.

Leslie said...

Well, how fun is this.

joe said...

ah. and so your weaving truly takes flight! i love this piece with the feathered treasures woven so tentatively therein. perhaps they are not destined to be fastened down, but to linger for as long as they may and then move on to spread their magic and joy where they will. just as they have done now for you. this is delightful!

namaste'

Marie said...

Wow! Love this.
the feathers are such a wonderful idea. I have three
very large crow's feathers ...
They inspire me for a lot of reasons.
Like you, I see them as a gift for me.

deb g said...

What a wonderful way of gathering feathers... I have some nettle yarn too, love it.

woman with wings said...

Leslie -- it has been a lot of fun and all kinds of ideas are popping up now.

woman with wings said...

Joe, I love that what you said pretty much sums up how I'm feeling about it now, too -- I am a little tentative and there really is no rush. Thank you.

woman with wings said...

Thank you, Marie -- crow feathers are wonderful -- I have a pair of crow feather earrings, will take a photo sometime. I think they're actually illegal here in Colorado somehow? But they were gathered peacefully and respectfully, no harm was done, and I love them.

woman with wings said...

Deb, thanks! -- your nettle yarn -- have you used it yet? I've had mine for a few years but find I can't decide on what to make with the one skein. I'm thinking a shopping bag . . .

Pia said...

I found your page whilst looking for more info on the legalities on collecting feathers, as I have blue feathers in one of my planters, I presume the bird was killed by a cat or a natural predator.
DId you know that its illegal to own birds parts such as feathers?
I find the law to be a bit absurd, however I can also how one (the feds) can't be sure how the feathers were attained.

Anonymous said...

The Flickers may have given you permission to use their feathers but the federal government doesn't. The poster commenting on the legality is correct: It is illegal to own any part of a native, migratory bird (including feathers, eggs and nests) -- which includes most birds, including the Northern Flicker. It doesn't matter how you obtained it because there is no way to prove that you didn't kill the bird to get it. There are harsh penalties if the law is used against you so be careful.