Monday, March 2, 2009


Brittany and I made our second trip over to the Garment District somewhat recently and spent the remainder of the day getting crafty with our new purchases. Brittany made an insane headdress and I could only muster up a multi-feather hairpiece. Given any downtime since then Ive put myself to work brainstorming and ended up making the awesome necklace and two other hairpieces, seen above. The quality of the photos doesnt show just how much work went into any of it but every feather is wrapped in thread, the top of the necklace is braided suede, and I oxidized the chain myself. Mostly, Im proud of myself and can only imagine these will get more and more awesome with practice. Plus, Im ordering some vintage beads and metal decorations to make even more elaborate pieces.


In getting back in the crafts business (in high school I made personalized scarves that did really well and despite being the topic of most gossip during that time, a ton of people bought them) I guess it ought to consider making an Etsy account. The one thing thats kind of disheartening about it is that my own opinion of Etsy is very mixed. Sure, a lot of really talented people use it at a venue of sales but it also validates a lot of crap projects. Just because one can technically put a price on something doesnt mean theres any skill behind it. At any fate, I searched "feather" on Etsy and looked through all 800odd pages of results to find the best shops for feather jewelry and I do believe my work would fare well because theres nothing like it available and my prices would be far more reasonable.
Fleathers: Though I found this shop by searching "feathers", the items I like the most have nothing to do with that outcome. Im huge fan of animal symbolism and here you can find some really beautiful gold and silver animal rings. Oak carries several wolf and dog heads and skulls and Opening Ceremony has a huge variety of $400+ gold and silver animal head rings but here, on Etsy, similar items are offered up at half the price. The double rings (like the Beast Master) have got to be my favorite but I really do like every design and thats a rare thing to say.

Gia: This shop offers some really exquisite Earthy designs that show a really incredible talent for the manipulation of fabrics and materials. While the chainlink necklaces are a popular design at the moment, there are also a lot of unique pieces of neckwear in this little shop. Each one is different but they all have a sort of seaness that feels fresh and different but is still totally wearable. This one is my favorite just because Im not the best at crazy necklace wearing but it could even be an especially beautiful scarf.

Natasha Khan: Now I have no idea whether or not this is the Natasha Khan I hope and pray it is, but if this is really the Bat For Lashes frontwoman, I think I may be a little disappointed. The pieces are standard but they come at good prices and are clearly personalized and well-made. I do, however, love this necklace because based on its default photo, the detailing looks like it would be huge when it reality its very small and delicate. Not to mention intricate and quite amazing looking - definitely a stand out.

Yellow Field: Obviously my search brought up a variety of things, including these hats, but I do really love them. Taking Depression Era styles more literally to create something new rather than just trite vintage ensembles is both refreshing and quite unique. The hats have their own sort of finger wave to them and thats what makes them timeless but also completely modern. Its hard to pick a favorite but I think that I, personally, would get a good amount of wear out of this hat were it in a more neutral color because it has such a precise and elegant design. Yellow Field's hats could also be worn dressed up and thats a hard task for any hat to handle.

Custom By Levy: Custom By Levy was definitely the most literal result to my "feathers" search in offering this very beautiful (yet incredible overpriced) feather necklace. The shops other options are bland but I do like this design a lot. It isnt, however, terribly unique and though I feel bad blowing Levy's cover, the materials used to make such a piece might cost $15 and the effort isnt incredible. The hardest part to it all is setting the feathers. Regardless, I do appreciate the work.

Embellish Designs: Feathers are a really "now" item to utilize and I dont expect the trend to stay in Urban Outfitters for too much longer (but what trend does?) and so it was nice to see an Etsy shop that used the influence to make really mature, classic pieces that could stand the test of time. Beyond having an even better take on the feather necklace than Levy's store, Embellish features the Serpent Bangle and Ring without getting too literal and, my favorite use of the feather, an incredibly unique pair of earrings. Nature inspired work isnt uncommon but Embellish made the viewing experience quite refreshing.

Loved to Death: Part of the personal appeal of the feather trend is that I just love taxidermy and dead critters so I immediately took to Loved to Death's Etsy store. Im not at all impressed by the use of feathers in these items but there are so many incredible things up for sale. My favorite piece of jewelry being this rabbits foot turned chicken claw necklace, but beyond just body ornaments, there are tons of dead things made quite gracefully for purchase, all with a Victorian overtone.

Tinctory: Im not even sure how this came up in my search and the pieces arent spectacular but theres a craftmanship to be appreciated in Tinctory's rings and necklaces. The best of these and the only I could ever see myself wearing is the Rosemary necklace, but the stitching on every piece is very well done and I can imagine it was all worked by hand and such precision is very difficult to accomplish by hand - my work is crazy-looking and thats why I always hide my stitching.

Norwegian Wood: Another series of more literal feather items, Norwegian Wood has also taken a closer look at the popular theme of fringe, not only in jewelry but in clothing. Where this shop really stands out is in its selection of skirts, my favorite being this piece that also taps into Spring's nude trend. Not only that but Norwegian Wood makes caged skirts which are huge in the avant garde community so, beyond feathers, there is a great innovation and attention to whats on demand in this final store.


  1. These are really great.The gradation in color from the feathers is lovely. Headpieces soon?

  2. im going to be investing in beads and bones and tassels and dangles to make many necklaces and yes, perhaps full headpieces!

    unfortunately, all i have to document is my macbook camera which has terrible quality.