I’m not sure whether I’m just noticing this more, or if it is an actual new phenomenon, but I seem to be finding a lot more feathers than I used to. I have the feeling it is less a matter of there actually being more feathers than of me being more aware of them when I pass by. I’ve started collecting a lot of the ones I find, although I know that there are some potential legal issues with owning parts from certain protected species of birds. I do have a permit that allows me to own eagle feathers, although the ones I own were obtained through legal channels as opposed to finding them on the ground.
(The whole permit for feathers thing is rather interesting anyhow. A recent article in the Christian Science Monitor titled, “What Makes a Native American Tribe?” said: “So Sisk-Franco is no more eligible for an eagle-feather religious permit than a white Protestant, nor is her tribe eligible for other legal provisions meant to protect Indian cultures.”)
With a series of four mixed-media paintings I did recently, I incorporated a “feather” into each one. I use quotation marks because instead of using real feathers, I chose to scan and print out versions of feathers. The image above is the one I used. I was actually pretty happy with the results, but did find it interesting that I have had feedback from some people saying that they thought it would be better with a real feather. I’m still fine with the “simulated” feather. Not because it may be more archival, but because I think that it’s inclusion is more about it being a symbol in these works than about the bird the feather came from. Amusingly, I forgot that these pieces are hanging right next to me as I write this, and I just glanced up and saw them. I feel good about them.
But as for all of these other feathers I keep collecting, it will be interesting to see where they end up…