Birds of a Feather [Work in Progress]

Working on the next Spoonflower design challenge: animal prints. Not really my cuppa tea, but the idea is to stretch beyond my comfort zone.

Couldn’t see how to make zebra stripes or leopard spots any different from a million other designers, so I tackled feathers. First pass: scanned a bunch of Hermanita feathers and traced them in Illustrator. Okay, but traced feathers do not a design make.

Second pass: remembered a feathery textile sealed in a frame downstairs. We pulled the long, narrow strip out of the frame. A thousand or more tiny, shimmering feathers were carefully sewn to a pale blue backing. I took pictures.

Measuring the feathered textile

Next: Photoshop, to turn the 2-3/4″ strips into a square and then to blend it all into a pattern that repeats smoothly, without seams (image below).

Now for the big question: do I emphasize the intricacy of detail or do I reduce detail for a simpler, colorful impact? The image at the top of this page shows one of my abstraction experiments. Maybe too abstract…?

Meanwhile, I asked my Ethnic Textiles Community for help identifying the textile’s origin. I remember finding a receipt that said “Chinese,” but who knows. So far, they have only been able to steer me toward the Himalayan monal (impeyan pheasant) as a possible feather source.

I continue to work… wine poured. [Continued on 8 Jan 2019]

3 Replies to “Birds of a Feather [Work in Progress]”

  1. I cant figure out where to leave the comment about animal prints?

    Anyway I find the feather print stunning!! In fact it is just the kind of design I can see some movie star wearing whilecwalking down the red carpet. Not a while dress of it, but worked into parts of the dress.

    My only question: Is a bird an animal?

    If you need fur, Joe has different kinds. He also might be able to get you a deer hoof or an antler. There’d be a big market for hunting patterns. Fishing too. But then…. is a fish an animal? Just some thoughts.

    Worried about Hermanite too. How did you get her feathers…. gently, I hope.


    1. You left your comment in the right place. Sure, birds are animals. Definitely not vegetable or mineral, haha. Did you know that Hermanita molts every year? Drops her feathers one by one over the course of months and grows new ones. I accumulate quite a few feathers — even sold some on eBay once upon a time. So glad you like the feather print. I’ll probably post my final version today.


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