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Thread: Woodcock pin-feather tableau - Tiny trophy project.

  1. #1

    Woodcock pin-feather tableau - Tiny trophy project.

    Good morning everyone.

    I realise that this particular trophy display project is a little weird, with its' defining characteristic being that it's very, very small, which is the opposite of the general desired effect. However, as with the rest of my desultory trophy collection, the point of this is to encapsulate memories of a story. In this particular case, I wanted to do something with the five pairs of pin feathers that I collected from the five woodcock that I shot in Kent and Sussex between November 2007 and January 2012. These were woods that the KWCA had roughshooting leases on, but were subsequently lost. Still, I had some great times there while it lasted. To date, these are the only woodcock I've ever shot, and since access to those woods is gone, they belong to a single chapter of my hunting adventures.

    The pin feathers had been kept in a tiny old jewellery box waiting for the day when I'd work out what to do with them. Last summer, I finally bought some materials, which then sat around, and yesterday afternoon I found myself with an opportunity to have a go at this.

    I started taking my old fly-tying kit out of mothballs where it had been for a decade. I do so little fly-fishing now that I just haven't needed to replace any flies much unfortunately, but it was good to see that I can remember how to do this (yet another consequence of a misunderstanding of what adolescence is for...) and that the hands are still as steady! After a bit of experimenting with tweezers and those little spring-loaded clamp things that have a name that I've forgotten, I worked out how to tie the feathers into pairs. This really brings into focus the fact that all the patterns are unique.

    IMAG0670 by pinemarten, on Flickr

    Then I tried to trace and reproduce part of this photograph in pencil onto cartridge paper to use as a centrepiece:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It became clear that this isn't going to work, that's a level of artistry that's beyond me. So I'm going to print out a few photos including this one in black and white, and see which works best in the composition I have in mind. The reason for the black and white is that I think that colour would take the focus away from the feathers, and also I think it will fade over time and end up looking rubbish.

    Whatever image I settle on will end up in the central square (see below), with the pairs of pin feathers arranged as shown. I think I will then write in ink on the white card internal frame the date and wood where each bird was shot. Admittedly, I don't know exactly which is which, but let's not ruin a good story.

    IMAG0672 by pinemarten, on Flickr

    Any feedback or suggestions welcome!

  2. #2
    A guy I worked with has been collecting the pin feathers for years he intends to have them made into waistcoat not sure how it would be done but he says he saw a hunter in Romania with a shirt made from them when he worked there.

    You'll need to shoot a few more woodcock for that though Pine Marten !ol

  3. #3
    Pine Marten,

    If you forward the image & let me know what you want separated & how it's to be presented I'll sort it out for you.

    J

  4. #4
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    After a bit of experimenting with tweezers and those little spring-loaded clamp things that have a name that I've forgotten,
    Hackle pliers!
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  5. #5
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    Any feedback or suggestions welcome!
    I think it will make a really attractive and meaningful display, so well done

    One thought: the photo is really nice too, and it would be a shame to distract from it. Rather than mounting the pin feathers in the arrangement shown, how about cutting out suitable "windows" in the mounting card for each of the sets of pin feathers? Of course with five it wouldn't quite make for a symmetrical display, but you could have one in each corner and then one in the middle of a side? Or you could wait until you've shot some more woodcock - another three would be handy

    We've shot a few woodcock on our shoot this year. Whilst it's always tinged with a hint of regret, I do think it's nice to keep the pin feathers and display them. These days I do what I was shown on my last shoot and cut the end of the top of the beak off about 1.5 inches in from the end. Then I stick one pin feather in the little groove (nostril?) in each side. As the beak dries out so it secures the pin feather, and the little bump at the end of the beak ensures it doesn't fall out of a hatband. Although most guns want to keep the pin feathers, they don't necessarily know what to do with them, and this keeps them safe and secure.
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by bogtrotter View Post
    A guy I worked with has been collecting the pin feathers for years he intends to have them made into waistcoat not sure how it would be done but he says he saw a hunter in Romania with a shirt made from them when he worked there.

    You'll need to shoot a few more woodcock for that though Pine Marten !ol
    I saw some waistcoats like that made with golden pheasant hackles in the window of a tailor's in Jermyn Street. The feathers are individually stitched to the fabric, it must be an insanely labour-intensive job. The final effect is borderline unwearable though. I think that a whole waistcoat or shirt made of pin feathers would be quite a sad item when you think of how many woodcock that represents...

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by willie_gunn View Post
    I think it will make a really attractive and meaningful display, so well done
    Thank you, that's what I was going for!

    Quote Originally Posted by willie_gunn View Post
    Rather than mounting the pin feathers in the arrangement shown, how about cutting out suitable "windows" in the mounting card for each of the sets of pin feathers? Of course with five it wouldn't quite make for a symmetrical display, but you could have one in each corner and then one in the middle of a side? Or you could wait until you've shot some more woodcock - another three would be handy
    I think that if I wait for an additional three sets of pin feathers, this may never happen... Anyway, they wouldn't be part of the "KWCA Years Set". However I like your idea of inleting the feathers into the mounting card, I'm going to mock that up first, but yes, then it's just a question of having that photo printed to the right scale.


    Quote Originally Posted by willie_gunn View Post
    We've shot a few woodcock on our shoot this year. Whilst it's always tinged with a hint of regret, I do think it's nice to keep the pin feathers and display them. These days I do what I was shown on my last shoot and cut the end of the top of the beak off about 1.5 inches in from the end. Then I stick one pin feather in the little groove (nostril?) in each side. As the beak dries out so it secures the pin feather, and the little bump at the end of the beak ensures it doesn't fall out of a hatband. Although most guns want to keep the pin feathers, they don't necessarily know what to do with them, and this keeps them safe and secure.
    Sounds interesting, could you share a picture?

  8. #8
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    Sounds interesting, could you share a picture?
    Happy to as soon as I get back home.
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  9. #9
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Marten View Post
    I saw some waistcoats like that made with golden pheasant hackles in the window of a tailor's in Jermyn Street. The feathers are individually stitched to the fabric, it must be an insanely labour-intensive job. The final effect is borderline unwearable though. I think that a whole waistcoat or shirt made of pin feathers would be quite a sad item when you think of how many woodcock that represents...
    If you think that's labour-intensive check out the work of Kate MccGwire: http://katemccgwire.com/

    Her art may not be to everyone's taste, but by golly she must have some patience: http://katemccgwire.com/installations#/evacuate-2010/
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by willie_gunn View Post
    If you think that's labour-intensive check out the work of Kate MccGwire: http://katemccgwire.com/

    Her art may not be to everyone's taste, but by golly she must have some patience: http://katemccgwire.com/installations#/evacuate-2010/


    They're fantastic(al)!

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