Top Tips for Feather Foraging
As my headdress creations have developed, feathers have become a somewhat beautiful encumbrance. Where will my next feather supply come from? How will I continue this headdress range without guinea fowl feathers mixed among pink ostrich feathers? There is an enigma attached to the feather, a rare find on a country walk, the element of the unknown and endless unique beauty. Not one feather is exactly the same as another.
As the maker of many feather headdresses I have become some what obsessed with having enough feathers, or the right feathers or simply the perfect feather to fit the piece. That final central addition that adds the perfect bohemian symmetry and sense or prowess.
I'm going to share my top tips for feather foraging and ensuring you always have a suitable supply of feathers for your creations;
1. Country and Coastal Walking
I am lucky enough to own the cutest cockerpoo puppy, Mollie, whom I take on long walks across our beautiful Cornish countryside and beaches. Whilst on these adventure with Mollie pup I keep one eye firmly to the ground, searching for fallen feathers hidden under leaves and foliage. The wooded areas around Newquay are where I have spotted some of my most triumphant feather finds. On a beach walk you will mostly find seagull feathers, often a little weather beaten, but as much as these pasty stealing pests annoy us locals, their feathers are still beautiful and dipped in golden glitter they look even better!
2. Game Shooting
Living in the west country there are many farms in the local vicinity that host game shooting. The pheasant shooting season lasts from October 1st to February 1st in England, Scotland and Wales. I have two friends who host many shoots on their family estates and are more than willing to send across bags of feathers left over from their shoot, which would otherwise be tossed in the bin, such a tragic waste. Whatever your personal thoughts on this sport, it is a tradition, these beautiful birds are bred and shot for this sole purpose. I take some pride in knowing that at the very least the birds continue to live on and shake their tail feathers on your festival creations or wedding crown - every cloud?
3. Goose Farm
Whilst working as a PR Officer my office was located on a farm. Whilst wondering across the fields one lunch break I discovered a goose pen, I asked the farmer whether he minded me paying the occasional visit to collect their feathers and since then have continued to stop by collecting the most beautiful white goose feathers from their nest and neighbouring field. The most stunning white feathers I have ever seen, perfect for a wedding or hen headdress. A word or warning, do tread carefully, until the birds get used to you stomping around their pen, they can be aggressive and quite protective, no one want to be the victim of a goose attack!
4. Road Kill
Its true, I have been known to pull over and check the damage after the tragedy of road kill has transpired. If you can stomach it, this is a source of feathers and again, gives these poor birds away to live on through artistic creation.
There is an incredible range of feather available on Ebay, I mainly use this site to purchase feather trim rather than individual items, if you're in a rush make sure you're not ordering from China, these orders have taken me up to 4 weeks to receive, thats a long wait when my turn over is 5 days!
So there are my top 5 tips for finding a feather source, I should also add that all my feathers are frozen for up to a week and hand washed in laundry detergent to ensure zero germs are carried over, whilst these creatures are a thing of pure beauty they can often carry nasty germs that need to be fully cleaned before
I dedicate this blog post as a thanks to all the beautiful birds that live on through my creations.