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Feather Sourcing

GOLD AND BLACK MIXED FEATHER EAR CUFF 

It's a difficult time to be a conscious consumer, and it's a difficult time to be a conscious creator. Eat clean, recycle, take care of our waters, reduce our carbon foot print. The stress of doing right by our planet and it's habitants can be constant. How do I reconcile my desire to make beautiful things and take care of myself in healthy ways when I know there's the potential that my actions have taken advantage of life or the planet in someway down along the chain?

It's a question that I found has an evolving answer, and when it comes to creating my feather ear-cuffs there's a couple solutions that feel morally in-line with a feather sourcing strategy. 

MODULAR FEATHER BUNDLES FOR CUSTOM EAR-CUFFS

The first has been to get my feathers from native peoples. I've been fortunate enough to travel to areas with tribal elders who have stashes of feathers that have been gathered in a respectful way. Feathers with little bits of red string tied around the quill as an acknowledgement of the blood that had given this creature life. Feathers that had been wrapped in careful ways showing respect for what they are.

Some feathers I find. I've traveled to different countries, been to bird sanctuaries and often times there's feathers on the ground to collect. Other feathers have come from thrift stores or antique shops where out-of-business hat-makers from the 1940s or 50s have donated their millinery supplies.

MAGPIE IN FLIGHT, COPY RIGHT @BETH HAMEL 

The feathers I find the most beautiful came from a deceased magpie that I found over the summer. The process of clipping off it's wings and tail feathers was incredible humbling. 

To the best I am able, I find my feathers from sources that I feel good about; where there has been either an element of repurposing, respect given to the birds, or hopefully a combination of both. To off-set the casual attitude that can come with feathers, a process I've adapted is to learn about the medicine that each bird carries. Geese for example carry principles of loyalty. If one is injured or too tired to fly, a companion or two will land with it until it's either able to continue on, or dies with company near by. How touching is that?

When I design an ear-cuff I contemplate on the medicine the animal carries as a way to imbue those aspects into the jewelry itself, and I hope that on some level, the soul of the earth feels these acknowledgements.

If you're interested in carrying the medicine of a certain bird, or are simply attracted to certain types of feather colors, get in touch. I'd be happy to design something for you that elevates your mood and that you can feel good about wearing.

With love,

Rael