Monday, 20 February 2012

Plucked For Fashion

There are always new things to learn and not always about new techniques I can use in my designs, but history behind some relate items can be facinating, such as pluming. It's actually rare for me to get anything on Millinery from my google alerts but I did get sent a link for a book called " The Plume Hunter" by RenĂ©e Thompson. It's a novel based around pluming, killing brids simply for their feathers, a practise that was done in the 1800's and1900's. These days though the poultry industry produces feathers as a by-product, along with the fact that it is no longer the fashion to have whole bodies of brids. One Smithsonian article states that in1886 ornatholigist Frank Chapan counted on 3 quatrters  of 700 women's hats, whole or part birds! From approximately 40 different types of birds.
 Though actually find many articles online about the subject is rather hard, typing Pluming into google and it keeps suggesting that I might be wanting a plummer? I actually had to type in feathers in the hope that might give me something, not much as you can see.
 But what I am glad (and relived) that the feathers used now in hats are not from birds killed just for them. Though with the growth of China, there are fewer feathers coming from Europe has dropped in the last 60 years.
Apparently it isn't just milliners are known to go to fishing shops but in America the trend for feathers in the hair has brought people in, though they complain alot about us doing it because feathers are hard to come by, frustrating fishermen. Lumping heaps of the blame on to Steven Tyler from American Idol.
 In the Seattle Times, one article from last June ecplains about the process used in America. The feathers used there are ones from birds bred for the sole purpose of being used for feathers, additionally though they do also add that the bird is euthanised first before plucking to spare it from suffering.
 As I've said before though it isn't easy to get hold of them other than the little craft stores, but then the range isn't great. Some fishing shops might have them, the first one I went to for my feather pad, didn't have any. According to the owner not enough people are making their own flys for fishing.Thankfully he was kind enough to allow me the use of his phone and call the fishing stop in Cowdenbeath, only to find out they had plenty. It did take me a while to choose which ones I wanted, eventually I settled on the black.

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