Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fantasy Feathers

 As I mentioned on facebook, the old "What if...?" bit me today. 

So many times, the best successes I've had began with "What if I .......?"

Left is a photo of my work table.  The faux eagle feather cane is upper right, a project I'll be teaching next year. It is a traditional feather and so far a favorite.  But, what if... I used the same technique but very different, non traditional colors? Note the two feathers to the left of the eagle feather. They are the answer to "What if I...?"

There were three colors on the work surface (black glass) today, Turquoise, pearl white and a soft coral color, leftovers from some project. 

Also on the work surface was a small Stroppel cane that Jane and I made together on our last play day. 

Shaft ready to be added to the feather halves
Using the three colors a Skinner blend was created. Turquoise on one end, soft coral on the other and the pearl white in the center. The resulting blend was fan folded into a block from which a feather would be made. After cutting the corners away the feather shaped block was cut in half leaving two sections of 'barbs' ready for splits.

The side splits in the 'barbs'  were finished and I had reached the point where the shaft needed to be wrapped in black to separate the shaft from the feather barbs but it seemed to me that black would be harsh and not fantasy like. 

After holding a number of colors up to the shaft and parts of the feather I pretty much gave up. Actually I was hoping for one of those "Ah-HA!!" moments that often come after I give up trying. 

 That's when the Stroppel cane caught my eye. "What if I were to wrap the shaft with a slice of the Stroppel cane???  If lengthwise, then it would be the same problem as the black clay but if vertically then the shaft would have dozens of tiny color bits as we'd be looking on the cross section of a very thin slice. 

Would it work?  A thin slice of the Stroppel cane was put through the pasta machine on a thin setting. #7 in a machine where #1 was the thickest and #9 was the thinnest.

After covering both sides and the ends the shaft was inserted into the feather halves. 

They were pressed together leaving the thick end of the shaft sticking out of the feather cane about 1/4 inch. 

A small vertical slice of the Stroppel cane was placed from the tip of the shaft to the tip of the feather.

The cane was then tightly pressed together, shaped and reduced slightly.
 The cane provided about a dozen slices from large to small. Left are shown some of them. 

The lines around the shaft appear almost 'sparkly' due to the darks and lights.

Left is a close up scan of a Fantasy Feather.  

Original Design by
Penni Jo Couch

Designer and sculptor of 

Designer of


Krazy Sue said...

I love these! You are so talented"
I can't figure out what you mean by "A small vertical slice of the Stroppel cane was placed from the tip of the shaft to the tip of the feather."



Penni Jo AKA Claylady43 said...

Hi Sue,

Thank you so very much!

When I put the feather shaft with the 'sparkly' Stroppel cane line around it in between the barb parts and closed the feather, the pretty 'sparkly' line did not go to the tip of the feather but stopped at the end of the center shaft. To remedy that, I cut the cane from the tip end to the end of the center feather shaft. After opening the cut I inserted a quarter inch slice of the Stroppel into the cut then pinched the feather tip and reshaped it. This way the 'sparkly' Stroppel cane line now went all the way to the tip.

If you look at the first photo, the second fantasy feather from the right does not have the line to the tip. It looked a bit 'blah' to me so I added the strip to the remaining cane so that the line went to the tip in the resulting feathers.

Thank you so very much for the question. The answer will help to clarify it for readers as it is not very clear in my description.

(I should not try to write descriptions late at night) :-D

Penni Jo

November 15, 2012 6:10 PM

Wendy said...

This is fabulous - what an ingenius solution and I love the finished feather.

Penni Jo AKA Claylady43 said...

Thanks so much Wendy.
Penni Jo