light as air

feathers are fascinating; the incredible things they can do by providing flight, maintaining warmth, making a mating ritual extravagant. upon closer inspection they are equally glorious, the color only seen at a distance is broken up into an array of multiple hues, with mica like shimmer.

feathers have been something i need to pick up when found on the ground; always searching for that one spectacular specimen. when i was younger and vacationing in the bahamas we went to a preserve where these lovely peacocks lived. there were so many blue feathers on the ground; tiny ones from the head and bigger downy grey ones with iridescent blue tips. i only wished that i was able to gather more.

not so long ago one of the feral cats in the neighborhood brought down a female cardinal and left bits of her plumage on our porch; it was sad, but an example of the hierarchy found in the natural world. i saved one of her brown red feathers.

when viewing historical garb and movies of glamorous eras i'm always drawn to the fantastic headgear comprised of luxurious feathers; ostrich, pheasant, peacock, exotic birds from the tropics and the rainforests. watching documentaries on the television about birds and wild things from our beautiful planet, at the ways they've suffered by our hands because of the finery they are made of, creates within me guilt over this feather fascination. should i continue to use them in my work, even if they are found objects and not bought? what message does it send? i guess these questions could be asked of any animal derived material, be it fur, leather, pigment, scale or feather.

No comments: