feathers

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Art

Intricate Beadwork Adorns Handmade Mardi Gras Suits by Demond Melancon

August 11, 2019

Andrew LaSane

For the past three decades, Louisiana-based artist Demond Melancon has created highly detailed Mardi Gras Indian suits using millions of hand-sewn small glass beads. Each suit takes several months to create and features custom patches that tell stories about African and American history.

Images of Nyabinghi warriors, Haile Selassie, African nature scenes, and slavery are strung together bead by bead to form decorative costumes that weigh up to 150 pounds and are worn from 9am to 6pm on Mardi Gras. Frills and feathers frame the complex beadwork and sequins to complete the one-of-a-kind single purpose suits.

Melancon tells Colossal that in junior high school his friends “masked Indian” and that he followed them into the craft. He was chosen by the elders to learn sewing techniques as well as the history of Black Masking Culture in New Orleans when he was 14 years old. After masking as a Spy Boy for 15 years with the Seminole Hunters, Melancon earned the distinction of becoming Big Chief to his own tribe. In addition to leading his community and passing on traditions to the next generation, the honor is expressed through the size and intricacy of his suits, which can take over 4,000 hours to complete and are only worn once.

“I study our history and historical narratives to create my pieces [with] many different references,” Big Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters explained. He added that as a “bead master,” his style involves using the smallest beads available to pack in as much detail as possible.

Melancon’s work has been exhibited in galleries around the world. A new documentary short about his life and art titled “All on a Mardi Gras Day” (dir. Michal Pietrzyk) was the Documentary: Grand Jury Prize Winner at Seattle International Film Festival and has been shown at other festivals across America, Germany, and Denmark. For a list of upcoming screenings and to see more of the Big Chief’s suits, visit his website and Instagram.

 

 



Art Illustration

Meticulous Portraits of Young Women by Ozabu Are Eerily Fused with Plants and Feathers

July 30, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Mysterious women are delicately rendered in surreal graphite portraits by Japanese artist Ozabu. Working on warm-toned paper, Ozabu uses a combination of meticulous linework and astoundingly smooth blending to create images that are simultaneously dramatic and soft. Young female subjects seem to fuse with ravens, chrysanthemums, and bonsai trees, blurring the boundaries between human and nature. The self-taught artist refrains from speaking about or explaining her work, instead allowing each ineffable drawing to spark the viewer’s imagination. Ozabu is currently working on an upcoming solo show and regularly posts in-progress and completed pieces on Instagram.

 

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Art

Feathered Skulls by Laurence Le Constant Serve as Objects of Memory Dedicated to Departed Loved Ones

May 23, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Laurence Le Constant started working with feathers in the early 2000’s while employed as a sequins designer in haute couture workshops throughout Paris. Inquisitive about the meticulous art, she would ask embroiderers and feather workers to teach her the trade during breaks or her lunch hour. After her grandmother passed in 2010 she created her first skull as a memorial, spending hundreds of hours of works selecting and gluing feathers to a resin base. Since this first skull, her other pieces have also served as tools for memory, honoring prominent women in her family and beyond.

“With the series ‘My Lovely Bones,’ I became the Huesera, or the ‘bone lady,'” Le Constant told Colossal. “Like this mythical creature from the Mexican folk tales, which roams the desert to collect bones and bring back life through its singing, I bring the magnified skulls of women back from the afterlife, giving them a new life and a new voice.”

The artist sources feathers from animals farmed for the food industry in Europe and never uses feathers from protected or endangered birds. You can see more of her feather sculptures on her website and Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 



Art

Serpentine Coiled Sculptures of Found British Bird Feathers by Kate MccGwire

January 26, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Turmoil, 2016. Mixed media with pheasant feathers in antique dome. 58 x 43 x 60 cm. All photos by JP Bland

Kate MccGwire‘s roiling feather sculptures juxtapose the beautiful, delicate material with discomfiting shapes. Whereas her earlier work tended toward sprawling installations that oozed and slid toward the viewer, MccGwire’s more recent pieces are tightly wound and displayed within the confines of frames, cabinets, and bell jars.

Although at first glance the feathers’ incredible colors and patterns seem exotic, the British MccGwire sources all of her materials from dropped feathers provided by farmers, gamekeepers, and pigeon racers. She was originally inspired to begin working with feathers after discovering a local pigeon colony that dropped feathers near her rural art studio. Magpie and mallard feathers gleam an iridescent inky blue, and pheasant feathers sport detailed patterns.

In an interview with Artnews, MccGwire describes her work: “I’m thinking of it as being like an umbilical cord. I want to seduce by what I do—but revolt in equal measure. It’s really important to me that you’ve got that rejection of things you think you know for sure.”

MccGwire is represented by La Galerie Particuliere and Mark Sanders Art Consultancy and exhibits widely; she currently has works in three shows. The artist also shares updates on Facebook and Instagram.

Spill, 2016. Mixed media with magpie feathers. 53 x 93 x 9.5 cm

Spill (detail), 2016. Mixed media with magpie feathers. 53 x 93 x 9.5 cm

Sentient, 2016. Mixed media with goose feathers in bespoke cabinet. 56.5 x 40 x 40 cm

Spate, 2015. Mixed media with pheasant feathers. 127 x 155 x 10 cm

Conundrum, 2017. Mixed media with rooster feathers in bespoke brass vitrine. 100 x 60 x 30 cm

Swathe, 2014. Pigeon tail feathers on archival board. 69 x 69 x 17 cm

Swathe (detail), 2014. Pigeon tail feathers on archival board. 69 x 69 x 17 cm

Sissure: Breach, 2016. Mixed media with goose down and pigeon quills. 55 x 29 x 6 cm

 

 



Art Craft

Flora and Fauna Paper Constructions by Ann Wood and Dean Lucker

July 6, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Artist duo Ann Wood and Dean Lucker (aka Woodlucker) forged a partnership in 1987 shortly after graduating from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Together they pursue a variety of both collaborative and personal projects from Lucker’s kinetic sculptures to Wood’s illustrated papercraft. Wood refers to her process as “drawing with scissors,” and merges aspects of both paper cutting and traditional illustration with ink. After forming the moths, butterflies, feathers, and flowers, the pieces are then carefully arranged within collection boxes designed by Dean. You can follow more of their work on Instagram and on their portfolio site. (thnx, Diana!)

 

 



Art

Exquisite New Cut Feather Shadowbox Artworks by Chris Maynard

December 14, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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We’ve long been fans of Olympia, Washington-based artist Chris Maynard (previously) who assembles shadowboxes of cut feathers depicting the silhouettes of birds as they sing, perch, and swoop across the canvas. With a background in both biology and ecology the artist recalls working with feathers as early as the age of 12, utilizing heirloom forceps, eye surgery scissors, and magnifying glasses passed down through his family. Maynard acquires feathers for his artwork from zoos and private aviaries.

Collected here are a number of recent works, some of which will be on view at an upcoming solo show next year at the Bainbridge Museum of Art. You can see much more on Instagram and Facebook.

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Amazing Photography Science

The Extraordinary Iridescent Details of Peacock Feathers Captured Under a Microscope

March 30, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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In this series of photographs featuring the delicate details of peacock feathers, photographer Waldo Nell relied on an Olympus BX 53 microscope to take hundreds of individual shots that were combined to create each image seen here. The process, called photo stacking, blends dozens or even hundreds of photos taken at different focal points and then stitches them together to extend the depth of field. At this level of detail the feathers look more like ornate jewelry, thick braids of iridescent necklaces or bracelets, rather than something that grows organically from the wings of a bird.

By day Nell is a software engineer in Port Moody, BC, Canada, but is fascinated by technology, science, and nature, all of which he merges in his photography practice. You can see more of his work on Flickr. (via Reddit)

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