I made the raven feathers from double-layered cotton print fabric. Read on to learn how.
March 12, 2019: Lots of raven feathers. And still more to come. I have five ravens to make plus two more crowned cranes, so that's a lot of feathers. If you're waiting for a crane or raven, please be patient. These sculptures take a long time, and I still have a long way to go.
I've included a few photos of the feather-making process, so you can get a rough idea of how I make them.
Feathers are made from two layers of cotton print fabric.
I create the design for the feathers on my computer using a graphics software, and then transfer the design to my embroidery machine, shown here, which stitches out the design automatically.
If you look at the material in the hoop, you can see that there are two layers of black cotton fabric, with a layer of a clear material sandwiched in between. The clear material is Ultra Solvy, a stabilizer that dissolves in water. Please don't ask me what it's made of.
Here's a close-up of a feather being stitched out.
Four tail feathers after stitching.
My next step is to cut out every feather. I then soak them in water to dissolve the stabilizer. Then I rinse them, and spread them out on a towel to dry overnight.
My next step will be to steam them all flat. Then I'll brush a coat of fabric stiffener on the backs of the feathers, let them dry again, and steam them again. Then they'll finally be ready to sew onto the birds.
Trimmed tail feathers.
Ravens, Part 1: Finding Inspiration
Ravens, Part 2: Feathers
Ravens, Part 3: Making lace for the head and neck
Ravens, Part 4: Starting on the legs
Ravens, Part 5: Claws
Ravens, Part 6: Legs
Ravens, Part 7: Building the body
Ravens, Part 8: Beaks
Ravens, Part 9: Attaching the legs
Ravens, Part 10: The exoskeleton
Ravens, Part 11: Feathers and Lace
Ravens, Part 12: Finally finished!
Welcome to my fantasy world
I'm a textile artist in Reno, Nevada, USA, specializing in three-dimensional fabric sculpture. I use this blog page to record my journey and to share some of my successes and failures, in hopes that it might help you with your own creative endeavors.