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Old 07-21-2016, 11:00 PM   #1
Some donkus
 
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Critique my first feathers?

Finally had a go at painting imitation eagle feathers. These are white goose feathers + a brown dye that was recommended to me by someone who has experience in painting feathers. When hairspray is applied, it adds a deep red hue for some reason (chemical reaction), as in the "owl" feather. Well... They aren't perfect, but here they are. I know my camera is trash but it's the only one I have... I figure you'd get the same idea as someone in a crowd or at a distance anyway.


Small one, first one I did.


Second one I did.


Third one I did, and my favorite one.


So, this one is actually a lot brighter than the photo... Very vivid red... It looks hella fake. It was supposed to look like an owl feather but meh. I didn't actually know when I added hairspray that it would turn red like that, and I am glad I did it to this one and not the other ones.

So my eventual goal is to get really REALLY good at painting feathers and hopefully be a master at it by the time I am in my old age. IMO everyone should be allowed to have beautiful feathers without waiting months on end to get them. I know they are no substitute for the real thing, but they are something.

What do you guys think? What do I need to work on the most? What can I do to make them look better?
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Old 07-21-2016, 11:03 PM   #2
Some donkus
 
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Aw hell...

Okay... Owly one: https://gyazo.com/845554af103411d33b2b2657a3ac27ce

Small one: https://gyazo.com/841656cba8937e48ad673f356d112886

Third one: https://gyazo.com/762781cb67f7785ca3357c4a22fe0d76

Favorite one: https://gyazo.com/9828124ce9eaabbf6de9e3d5073c3c6b
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Old 07-22-2016, 05:56 AM   #3
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Nice. Very good first effort.

I'm not sure why you're using a fixative. Brown dyes are a often a blend of red, green and blue organic dyes. I suspect that the reddening you're seeing is a result of the solvents in the fixative dissolving the dye, rather than a degradation of one component. The redissolved dyes may do a chromatographic separation on keratins fibers in the feather. The red dye is the slower migrating phase and the others sink in faster. Put a spot of your dye on a coffee filter and spray it with your fixative. After a few minutes, see if you're getting a color separation along the edge of the spot.

What dye/paint are you using? Leather dyes -- not paints -- have worked well when I made fake plumes for art pieces. Tandy's Pro dye, a mix of the dark brown and black, or Fiebring's leather dye -- the mineral spirit based one not the oil -- have worked well. I preferred the Tandy Pro dye, but it used some rather unhealthy solvents and they discontinued the line in favor of the Eco-flow products.

Let me recommend:

Focus on Feathers, by Andrew Forsythe

Forsythe runs Sioux Specialities who makes some of the better fakes used by the hobs.
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Old 07-22-2016, 07:18 PM   #4
Some donkus
 
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I should have known you would know exactly why the reddening was happening... LOL!

I am using Rit brown liquid dye. They have a black one too and I think the coloring would be more realistic if I mixed the two, it is a bit light now. I had been using hair dye in the past, and then actually rinsing it like you would with hair, and I had a lot of issues with bleeding between the fibers while it was setting in.

Sioux Specialties was actually what made me want to do this. They were some of the only feathers I have ever seen in my life that I genuinely could not tell they were fake. As an unregistered person, I would actually be afraid to show them to law enforcement. They were phenomenal. I have a great desire to provide unregistered natives with realistic feathers, and I have a desire to own some myself, but they are so hard to find. Never seen any in my life as good as Forsythe's. I understand he has mostly retired from feather work due to the huge time demands and not having enough time for his family, but criminy are his feathers ever good! Man is my hero!
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Old 07-22-2016, 08:23 PM   #5
Me & Eyes r doin' goot !
 
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A guy down around Austin had the best ones I ever saw ! I won't say the name because of my story ! LOL I saw that B&W bustle , epps , visor , stick feathers , fan and roach feathers were so good that from 3 feet you couldn't tell and I've seen a lot of real feathers ! I was in G.E. behind him and at first I thought they were real ! He dropped one during a dance at Ottawa powwow , but instead of telling the people it was fake , he was afraid and Zeke's dad went out and picked it up. At first he thought it real....then looked closer , and then closer yet. Then took him aside and read him the riot act. But they were awesome looking ! Good for those who can't possess real ones.....or just can't get them !
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Old 07-23-2016, 02:44 AM   #6
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The rachis of turkey and goose is the tell. There is waxy tegmen on the underside of swan feathers. Eagle does not have this. Turkey and goose have a deep U shaped groove down the backside, eagle has a very narrow groove more like a knife cut. Turkey also have ridges on the inside on the feather shaft that are readily visible. This is why some folks rough up the shaft.

Turkey plumes have windows in the barbs, where there are no barbules, along the rachis. This is very visible in fake plumes. Ostrich doesn't have the window but the texture of ostrich is fluffier than eagle. They move differently. They are kind of coarse looking in comparison. Real marabou, not the turkey fluffs called marabou, doesn't have the windows and the texture is closer. But the marabou and turkey have the U shaped groove.


Just remember that there is more to a feather than just the physical object. There are purposes that can't be filled by a fake.

I've always been a bit squeamish about using fakes for dancing. There is a responsibility and lineage taken up with the regalia. You have to respect these things. You put on a bustle, carry a fan, etc. you are making a statement your relationship to certain traditional values and institutions. I'm told you're dressing your spirit. What does it say when you use fakes? Do you feel the same way?

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Old 07-23-2016, 01:22 PM   #7
Some donkus
 
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OLChemist, I feel a lot of what you are saying towards the end of your post, and as an unregistered person, it makes my heart ache. Even though I have established lineage, I am too low blood quantum to register with either of my family tribes. This post is pretty heavy, but I KNOW there are a lot of others who can sympathize with it. I was taught that we treasure eagle feathers because the eagle carries our prayers to the creator. A turkey can't even fly, let alone carry our prayers... Not to bash on turkeys or anything, but the turkeys we get feathers from are big fat white turkeys that can't even breed naturally. Most of them are born to die, and some of them naturally suffer if they live past a year old due to growing too fat. They are pretty far from eagles. One would think that, with religious freedom being such a huge thing according to the government, eagle feathers would be more readily available to unregistered natives. Unfortunately though, the way things are now, convincing replica feathers are the closest thing to real eagle feathers that we can legally possess. It is true that I have had eagle feathers, and I gave them to someone who was legally allowed to possess them, because I was afraid of being arrested. I had no doubt that I did the right thing when I learned that the number of feathers I gave this person matched the number of people in her household, with colors corresponding to the genders of the people in the household... They were definitely meant to be for this person, and I was just the delivery boy, and I am honored to have had that privilege. I am not going to lie though, personally, I feel really bitter towards people who own dozens of pristine eagle feathers and risk their feathers' safety by waving them around on the field. I know that the dance usually stops when a feather falls, but missteps happen and things can go wrong. I think it would be better for each person to have 1 feather to treasure dearly than for just a few people to have dozens or hundreds of them while others go without. If you think dancing with a fake is bad, imagine trying to open your heart and soul and give up a prayer with one. Just because I feel that way though, doesn't mean that things will ever change. As it goes right now, I am determined to provide unregistered natives with as realistic eagle feather replicas as I possibly can. Even if they are fakes, if I can make them look real, it is better than nothing at all. I know I have years of hard work ahead of me, but this has really touched my heart and become very important to me, I feel like this is something I was meant to do. Having this type of work to do has really taught me to be patient and to concentrate and it is doing good things for me.
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Old 07-23-2016, 02:05 PM   #8
Some donkus
 
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Also something I have sort of "discovered" after much meditation is that Canada goose feathers are pretty flippin' cool. Some of them are nearly identical to eagle feathers, and the goose is such an amazing bird. It is a formidable master of land, water, and sky... Think about it. It is a fairly intimidating bird. Not many critters will tangle with an adult Canada goose. If it had the beak and talons of an eagle, I think it could kick any critter's butt. It is probably our good fortune that it just has a blunt bill and webbed feet, could you imagine how scary it would be if it was equipped like a raptor? I do have a few Canada goose feathers. Everyone thinks they are eagle feathers until I tell them. The ones I have don't have tegmen, and the only real "tell" is that they have much less white down and the "stem" part isn't white for as far up on the feather. I have one in particular that has an unusually high amount of white and down and nobody knows until I tell them, so that makes it special to OTHER people, and just knowing what a special creature the goose is makes it special to me. The thing that really impresses me about geese is the fact that they are capable of travelling over land, water, or sky and still being intimidating to other animals. Other birds give them a wide berth, and I think that speaks volumes about their power. Anyone can own a Canada goose feather as long as their state allows the ownership of Canada geese as barnyard fowl, which my state does, so I don't have to worry about them being taken away, so long as whatever official believes me when I tell them they are goose feathers!
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Old 07-23-2016, 05:03 PM   #9
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@Niigig Please don't misunderstand. I'm not criticizing you for painting feathers or even wearing them. I was opining. What I would say, is realize what you are emulating -- beyond the physical feather.

Also, I choose my words poorly. I didn't mean your lineage, I meant that of modern regalia.

Now, for some more opining and some homework. This is not a 30 min internet search:)

You say your ancestors are Lakota. I want you to go to a library, using interlibrary loan if necessary, find out about the following:

Tokala, Kangi Yuha, Ihoka, Cante T'inza, Sotka Yuha, Wiciska, Miwatani and the Omaha Society.

Find copies of: Teton Sioux Music and Culture, by Francis Densmore and Songs and Dances of the Lakota, by Ben Black Bear and R. D. Theiz. Read the translations of the Society songs. Really think about what you read.

If you can find Ethical Conceptions of the Oglala, by Helen Blish, read it. Failing that read the chapter on the Lakota in Dog Soldiers, Bear Men and Buffalo Women by T.E. Mails, which summarizes what the biggies of late 19th and early 20th century ethnology wrote about Lakota societies. Find Lakota Belief and Ritual by Walker. Read the last section of the book, documents 87-92 by Thomas, Tyon, John Blunt Horn, Thunder Bear and others.

These will give you a feel for -- albeit from the dominant culture perspective -- the historic framework of modern regalia.

Finally, get a Lakota dictionary and look up: Okolakiciye, akicita, tiyospaye, woksape, woohitika, wowacintanka, wacantognaka.

Really think about those words in the light of the instructions given to new society members you'll read in Walker. Think of how those values are embodied in the society regalia sketched in the Mails and Walker books. The modern extension of those values is part of what a Lakota man is "putting on" when he wears regalia.

My $0.02 worth.


(Yes, I can overthink things, LOL. Now, I'm going to go haul books back into my TV room, LOL.)

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Old 07-23-2016, 05:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niigig View Post
It is a formidable master of land, water, and sky... Think about it. It is a fairly intimidating bird. Not many critters will tangle with an adult Canada goose. If it had the beak and talons of an eagle, I think it could kick any critter's butt. It is probably our good fortune that it just has a blunt bill and webbed feet, could you imagine how scary it would be if it was equipped like a raptor?
When I was in college --broke, without a car, in a really small town, in a dry county, in rural east TN -- I decided one Saturday to 'liberate' some stale loaves of bread from the cafeteria, to go to the "lake" in the "city" park and feed the ducks. There were lots of ducks of various types, a few dozen geese and a pair of swans in this fairly small pond. What I did not know was these animals were quite accustomed to being fed. They could recognize a Wonder Bread bag at 100 yards.

I stepped off the bike path with my Wonder bread bags and they started coming. Lots of them. I stopped in surprise and the lead duck began to run. All hell broke loose. The rest of the flock began running. The ducks swarmed over my feet, pecking at my shoes and legs.

I should, at this point, mention I had very unfortunate fashion sense as a college student, along with a certain fascination for -- well, uh -- 1980's reproductions of 1960's hippie clothing. I was also a handweaver, so I had lots handwoven open topped "hippie purses", to match -- as well as they could -- any outfit. I was attired in my prized (too big) broomstick skirt and carrying one of my purses.

Back to the flock, the geese brought up the rear. They were tall enough seize the bread bags and tear them from my hands. Within a few seconds the bread was on the ground and waterfowl were fighting all around me. Then it was gone.

For ten seconds the entire gaggle looked at me. A huge gander, with the wing span of a pterodactyl, decided I had to be hiding bread in my purse. The tug of war lasted until a evil eyed goose, with the same melodious cry as a buzz saw on concrete, gave me a good solid peck on the posterior, pulling down the waistband of my skirt in the process. I was now displaying my unmentionables to downtown. I let go of the purse and grabbed my skirt.

They riffled my fallen purse! My college id, my dorm keys, my driver's license, kleenexes, loose change... all over the ground. A mallard crawled completely inside to hunt for crumbs and relieve himself. Don't let those webbed feet fool you! I got my hand clawed by their sharp little toenails while grabbing back my driver's license. The entire time that same goose stayed behind me, yanking on my skirt, forcing me to hang on to my waistband with one hand.

Until this point the swans had been placidly swimming around the lake. When I glanced up from the fray, they were majestically unfolding their legs and clambering ashore. I'm 5' 8". Those birds came to my collarbone. I was not staying to see what they would do when they found out the bread was gone!

Feeding the birds cost me $30 in lost key and id fees, LOL.

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Old 07-23-2016, 08:03 PM   #11
Some donkus
 
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Omg I am dying laughing omg lmfao I am so sorry but that is too hilarious! Ours out here are fairly shy in comparison. They are way more brazen than most wild birds. Even the ones in the woods will let you get within fifty feet before leaving, and if they see food, they will let you leave it there and eat it once you are fifty feet away. I have heard horror stories and seen some HILARIOUS youtube videos of tame city geese and that has given me a HUGE respect for the birds, they can be terrors for sure. I have never experienced them on that scale though, I would have run screaming.

I am sorry if my earlier post sounded offended, I wasn't actually offended, I was agreeing with you initially and then I went off on an emotional tangent that was entirely my own. Sorry about that. I agree with what you are saying actually, I am just afraid of ruining my life so early on by being arrested. I don't want to have a criminal record at my age, especially one that labels me as a trafficker of illegal animal parts. That just sounds so bad for someone like me, trying to find their place in the native community. And I will definitely research what you have posted. Everything you have told me to research so far has brought me a lot more knowledge than you might know. One page leads to another and pretty soon I have learned a ton in just a couple days' reading. And I do love reading.
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Old 07-23-2016, 09:04 PM   #12
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Most fish and game folks have been trained. They can spot fakes. Have you touched real eagle feathers? They feel different. The wear pattern on ends of the barbules are different. These guys can spot 'em. Besides in court they need proof. There will be lab tests. It would be a huge expensive pain in the neck, but no experienced lab will mistake a goose or turkey feather for an eagle.

I really won't worry. (And I'll worry over ANYTHING.) But, if you're really scared, CYA (Cover Your biblical donkey)! Keep your receipts. Take photos at steps in the process.
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Old 07-23-2016, 09:22 PM   #13
Some donkus
 
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Yes I have felt them before (I had a few for a couple days) and they definitely feel different. Like the soft part has a completely different texture to it. It reminds me of horse hair vs human hair kind of a difference. The ones I had before, the quill part was less waxy and felt more bone-like and less plasticky than the barnyard feathers. I don't have much faith in our local DNR to be completely honest. They are not smart people.
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Old 07-23-2016, 09:40 PM   #14
Some donkus
 
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I just realized that I already know one of the words you posted. Or I think I do. Akicitia? "Ah-kee-SHEE-cha"? I don't know the actual definition but I think it is just kind of the early word for "white government official"?
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Old 07-23-2016, 10:38 PM   #15
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Akichita, akicita depending on your orthography choice. Historically, camp police, warrior society members serving the tribe policing, regulating the tribal hunts, so on. Modern usage, tribal police (uncommon) and soldiers.
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Old 07-24-2016, 11:20 AM   #16
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One would think that, with religious freedom being such a huge thing according to the government, eagle feathers would be more readily available to unregistered natives.
Here is the problem: You have a limited resource, eagle feathers. You have New Ager's, Wicca, and who knows what else who claim to need them for their religious practice. You have people without a stitch of written documentation, just a family legend about high cheekbones and hiding in the hills. You have hobs who want them to enhance their emulation. The list goes on.

What criterion are you going to use to determine "real" unregistered people? And is it fair to say no feathers to these other religious practitioners? You open flood gates. Not to mention we'll be creating an whole other layer of never-to-disappear, tax-payer funded bureaucrats, who will probably be paid from the limited pot of funds earmarked fro Native peoples. And the tribes will suffer.

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If you think dancing with a fake is bad, imagine trying to open your heart and soul and give up a prayer with one.
If you can't find enough gratitude to thank the Creator, you need to look inside. Think of your ancestors in the boarding schools, forbidden their languages and denied feathers, sage, sweetgrass etc. Do you think they gave up prayer? Do you think the Creator and the Spirits didn't hear them?

Prayer in the face of deprivation is Indian.

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I am not going to lie though, personally, I feel really bitter towards people who own dozens of pristine eagle feathers and risk their feathers' safety by waving them around on the field. I know that the dance usually stops when a feather falls, but missteps happen and things can go wrong. I think it would be better for each person to have 1 feather to treasure dearly than for just a few people to have dozens or hundreds of them while others go without.
First, a waste of your energy.

Second -- I'm going to be a bit harsh, stick with me -- this suggests you still don't understand what the feathers on regalia mean. That's ok; you're still very young. Time to take tobacco to some older traditional dancers. Ask them about the feathers in their regalia and what they're doing while they're dancing. Think about what they tell you.

Third, it has always been that way. In the old days among my people, eagle feathers were earned. Some men had many others had few. The difference now is the eagle has their population decimated, just like us.

You're on the verge of becoming a man. If you're going to claim Native identity, start learning what being a Lakota man means. Discover what practicing the last four of those words that I told you to look up means for a modern mixed-blood. Cultivate a tender heart toward the elderly and helpless. Helping those in your community will drain that bitterness.

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... but this has really touched my heart and become very important to me, I feel like this is something I was meant to do. Having this type of work to do has really taught me to be patient and to concentrate and it is doing good things for me.
Then by all means carry on.


Finally, please do this old geezer, dyslexic with reading glasses a favor. Use a few paragraph breaks on some of these super long posts :)
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Last edited by OLChemist; 07-24-2016 at 11:22 AM.. Reason: Someday, I'll learn to proof read.
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Old 07-24-2016, 11:27 AM   #17
Some donkus
 
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When I say I am not very smart what I mean is that I don't think about the big picture. I didn't think about a lot of that stuff.
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Old 07-24-2016, 12:04 PM   #18
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It isn't a matter of smart. It is a matter of perspective. The bigger picture is what us old-geezers are good at, LOL. Once you get a few years under your belt, meet a few more people, screw up a few more times, you'll begin to get this big picture thing. :)
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Old 07-24-2016, 12:13 PM   #19
Me & Eyes r doin' goot !
 
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A turkey can't even fly, let alone carry our prayers...

I feel really bitter towards people who own dozens of pristine eagle feathers and risk their feathers' safety by waving them around on the field.
Wild turkeys fly very well. The best time to see that is in the evening when they fly up into the trees to roost ! As a hunter I really enjoy watching them.

As a traditional dancer I have many eagle feathers. They could all be taken away and I will still be the same man. I didn't always have all these feathers.Creator has seen fit to honor me with these feathers. One pair of feathers I have are around 150 years old , handed down for 3 generations ! They didn't all come from the repository. Some came from family , some from friends , some from Tribal Elders. When I first applied for feathers through the repository , we had to have a tribally recognized Holy Man/ Religious Leader sign the application. You no longer have that requirement. Maybe they should ! With that said I will just say this , There is no wrong way to pray ! You don't HAVE to have eagle feathers to pray , just like you don't have to have a glass or a straw to be able to drink. People sometimes mistake wants , with needs ! Priorities first......everything else will come when the time is right !
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I believe blood quantums are the governments way to breed us out of existance !


They say blood is thicker than water ! Now maple syrup is thicker than blood , so are pancakes more important than family ?

There are "Elders" and there are "Olders". Being the second one doesn't make the first one true !

Somebody is out there somewhere, thinking of you and the impact you made in their life.
It's not me....I think you're an idiot !





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Old 07-24-2016, 12:23 PM   #20
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Wild turkeys fly very well. The best time to see that is in the evening when they fly up into the trees to roost ! As a hunter I really enjoy watching them.
You've made me hungry. I enjoy cooking them. Rub on some crushed juniper berries, thyme, black pepper, onion powder... If they have been eating hickory nuts, they are especially yummy.

Indians! We always end up talking about food, LOL.
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