Janne Robberstad

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The feather workshop.

By spotogspindel | April 29, 2012

Well, let me just start with one thing. I know a lot more about feathers now than I did a couple of days ago!

What the possibilities are, what you can with them and to them, and how you can use them incorporated into costumes. And I have to admit, it was a lot more fun than I thought. A lot more fun, and a lot more inspiring 🙂

First there was a good chunk on the history of the use of feathers, way back 6000 years ago by Egyptians and American Indians. Then a solid presentation of all the birds used for feather-“production”. From turkey and goose to peacock, pheasant and ostrich. We got a whole bunch of feathers, trying to decide which came from what bird. 🙂

Time for technique! We learned how to make a feather boa. Using ostrich feathers, learning how to “strip” the feathery part from the quill, I ended up with lots of strands like the one below.

Steaming it to make if soft and fluffy. (Note to self: I NEED to get an industrial iron soon!)

Anyway. Sewing the strands together again, onion each side, symmetrically, to layers (Which the instructor confusingly called four layers). For the really big ones, you can use as much as 6 layers, sewing down one at a time. Finally you add a thick cotton thread which has sewn down soft goose-feathers on it.

And the secret to making this flat thing look fluffy?

Twist it! Twist it, stan it, and let it dry for two days (the cotton thread needs time to dry) and voilá!

In one and a half hour 8 of us made an ostrich feather boa, (it´s put together of all of our ca 40cm long pieces) ready to be auctioned at a charity-event.

We also learned how to make a feathery fabric, but I see I´ve forgotten to photograph that… ups…

Finally, Norbert from Vienna, our instructor, showed us how to make a Las Vegas-ish head-piece.

Half-way there…

And he´s done! This is a small picture, so a lot of the finer details are missing, but I tell you, it was pretty cool 🙂

I think I have some big goose feathers at home, I might have to play around with them, see what I can make. Anybody going to Vegas, needing a big headpiece in the near future? 😉

Topics: textile, travel, workshops | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “The feather workshop.”

  1. katy Says:
    May 1st, 2012 at 00:45

    this sounds like an incredible class i had no idea that was how boas were made very cool!

  2. sandy Martin Says:
    May 1st, 2012 at 05:35

    looks fun. Gotta love a boa!

  3. Tyler Says:
    May 1st, 2012 at 21:32

    how cool you got to learn all that…feathers would seem like a tricky medium to sew!

  4. Tammy McGee Says:
    May 2nd, 2012 at 20:46

    YES! Feathers are so cool!I cant wait to see what you make Janne! I know it will be beautiful! Your parrot does look smug indeed! HAHAHA! Have a super day friend! xoxo

  5. Livius Durka Says:
    September 2nd, 2016 at 19:57

    hi,iam a fashion design student and i would like to know how do u strip the feathers from the ostrich feathers?

  6. Jessica Says:
    November 4th, 2019 at 14:49

    I am really passionate about feathers!!! How interesting could be to attend a workshop like this. Do you remember the full name of Norbert from Vienna? 🙂

  7. spotogspindel Says:
    November 4th, 2019 at 15:25

    Hi Jessica. The company´s name is Atelier Renato & Co in Vienna. The teachers/owners were Tlusti Norbert and Sramek Peter.

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