In any house, you’re in all probability not more than two metres from a feather. Most are hidden in cushions, pillows and duvets, however there’s additionally a resurgence in ornamental feathers: each feather motifs in wallpaper and printed material and actual feathers, lots of which originated in an ostrich.
his magnificent flightless chicken is native to the savannahs and woodlands of Africa. Their feathers have been utilized in vogue and inside ornament for hundreds of years and are prized above the plumage of different birds each for his or her measurement and their stunning floaty high quality (the feathers of flying birds have barbs that hook onto one another, however ostrich feathers are unfastened and floppy).
As soon as, they had been extra beneficial per weight than gold or diamonds. In Plumes: Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Misplaced World of International Commerce (2008) Sarah Abrevaya Stein writes of the extraordinary ostrich feather bubble.
Over a 20-year interval that led to 1914, ostrich feathers tripled in worth. The demand was generated by the style trade — one was nothing with out a plume or two — and provided by Jewish immigrant farmers on the Western Cape of Africa.
These farmers, she writes, constructed themselves “feather mansions” with “panelled partitions, tiled loos, hand-painted friezes; the best mahogany, walnut, and oak furnishings… gilt concave mirrors, silver and Sheffield plate, the most effective Irish linen.”
Then, the style modified and the bubble burst. Some blamed the auto trade (you’ll be able to’t drive a automobile in an ostrich feather hat). The farmers had been left with out a feather to fly with and ostrich feathers had been relegated to the feather duster.
This utilitarian merchandise by no means went out of vogue and continues to be utilized by excessive finish automobile manufacturers to scrub their autos earlier than portray. Nothing, they are saying, can shift mud like an ostrich feather duster. Some declare this pertains to the static cost of the feathers; others imagine it’s due to the construction of the barbs. You should buy ostrich feather dusters from The Outdated Mill Shops, and elsewhere, for between €25 and €65 relying on measurement and the size of the deal with.
In ornamental phrases, ostrich feathers are making a powerful comeback in interiors. Probably the most flamboyant of those is the enduring ostrich feather lamp designed by A Fashionable Grand Tour.
The essential format is a base within the form of an ostrich leg, made in forged resin with a metallic end, surmounted by a droopy drift of hand-dyed ostrich feathers. The colors are wonderful.
As a design, the lamp ticks numerous bins: irony, magnificence, glamour, and a capability to get together with a variety of ornamental kinds. There’s additionally one thing a bit shady about them. I’ve seen them in villain’s homes in trendy TV dramas they usually match proper in. The catch is the value, which ranges from €2,253 for a mini (85 cm excessive) to €5,810 for a 2-metre-high ground lamp. Additionally, there’s no Irish provider. These costs are from Sweetpea & Willow within the UK, who will ship to Eire.
There are moral points round the usage of feathers and have been ever for the reason that snowy egret was hunted to the brink of extinction in Eighties America. The perpetrator was the millinery commerce. Now, nearly all of the feathers utilized in décor come from farmed birds, which brings a brand new set of issues together with horrific reviews of the reside plucking of geese in Asia.
As with all these items, it’s a matter of checking for certification and making a private alternative. Ostrich feathers are both taken from lifeless birds as by-product of the meat trade or clipped from reside birds at sure occasions of yr. Most come from farms in Africa, that are topic to totally different laws than European farms.
The assertion from A Fashionable Grand Tour is: “All our feathers are sourced sustainably from suppliers who ethically elevate the Ostriches. All feathers are provided with a sustainability certificates.” It’s laborious to know the way the ostriches really feel about it. The vegan motion eschews feathers, together with all animal merchandise and there’s a powerful argument that feathers look greatest on residing birds.
The certification round goose feathers is less complicated to grasp and the vary of Eos lamps, constructed from pure goose feathers by the Danish firm Umage, proudly boasts Accountable Down Customary (RDS) certification.
For those who select to feather their nests, this looks like a reasonably strong cert by way of animal welfare. Goose feathers are aesthetically totally different from these of the ostrich, being smaller and puffier, and the Eos lamp designs are full-on Scandi minimal. The feathers are dyed, principally in muted colors, and the frames are plain aluminium. Costs from lights.ie vary from €119.90 for a mini pendant lamp to €529.90 for a big tripod customary lamp.
The latter is 154 cm excessive and the fluffy feathers diffuse the sunshine superbly. If it is advisable to clear it, use a hairdryer. Different feather lamps embrace the Ruffled feather brass chicken’s leg desk lamp (round €183 from Audenza which revisits the chicken’s leg idea however with turkey feathers).
“Feathers are a good way to lighten a room,” says Julianne Kelly, inside designer. “Their texture provokes ideas of softness and whimsicalness, creating texture with out including heaviness.
“We use it rather a lot on printed materials and wallpaper. It’s been round some time however as an add-on to butterfly and dragonfly patterns. Now it’s extra in regards to the feather alone. Peacocks tails are nice for the intricacies of the design and for including color. We use it in printed materials on cushions, headboards and seating and I find it irresistible for wallpaper in bedrooms and small loos. It’s been round for therefore lengthy can’t actually name it a pattern – it simply retains evolving in form and elegance.”
The Plumo assortment of ornamental prints from Romo combines birds with swirling florals, whereas a variety of wallpapers from Casamance (from €70 per roll from Julianne Kelly interiors ) makes use of the feather motif in summary and complicated patterns. The perfect of those are nearly hypnotic and would work nicely in a bed room.
There’s an apparent affiliation between feathers and sleep. One other interpretation of feather print comes from Claire Luxton, an artist who designed a teaware assortment for Wedgwood. It’s a powerful medley of florals, botanicals, birds, animals and feathers.
The design has been plucked from the ceramics by the wallpaper model Feathr and translated right into a ginormous wallpaper mural (from €60 per metre). It in all probability doesn’t belong in a bed room. You wouldn’t sleep a wink.
See sweetpeaandwillow.com, juliannekellyinteriors.ie, feathr.com, audenza.com, theoldmillstores.ie