Sunday 15 May 2011

A Storm of Black Feathers

The photos and letters I picked up at London's Spitalfields Market a few months back, have been slowly- very slowly- making their way into collages.  I posted the one below awhile ago.  She was the first.  I still don't know all of her story, but it's slowly unfurling itself to me.  I think I shall know it soon.

"She returned from India with a splinter of its saffron sun nestled deep in her heart."

The first line of the character's story is integrated into the collage, as well as a photo, part of a letter, feathers, bits of cloth and paper, and pieces of foliage I like to collect: bracken, leaves, flowers.

I love the idea of a cabinet of curiosities.   As I work on these collages, I am beginning to realize that that's - to some extent - what I'm trying to capture with each one.  There are other items waiting for future collages in this series: coins, shells, small pebbles, bones and such.

This next one was completed the other day.  Her story is completely unknown to me right now.

"Her heart broke into a storm of black feathers."

I'm looking forward to discovering her story.  The feather landed at my feet one day as I was on a walk and was looking - or asking - or hoping for a reply to half-articulated queries.

Perhaps the feather itself was not the answer, but rather the key to unlock the door behind which certain answers lie.


  1. Beautiful and inspirational pieces. I too enjoy creating collages with vintage photos but I haven't really heard the stories that accompany them - but now I have my ears open for their murmurings. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. "Her heart broke into a storm of black feathers."

    Ohhhhh ~ the collage is gorgeous! I'll look forward to you finding the story in that, it's very intriguing!

    On a side note: I started my "lens and pen" blog with the intentional challenge of generating a reciprocal feed between my photography and creative writing. So far I've found it very helpful to build bridges between particular images and the words that stem from them. Perhaps it is the same for you (and your collages)?

  3. Your collages are beautiful. I like the way objects find you, the feather dropping at your feet. In my drawings it is part of the excitement to go for a walk as you never know what you are going to find. millyx

  4. I adore feathers. In all shapes and sizes. So, I love your new collage and the verbiage that goes along with it.

    I have a glass full of black feathers on a coffee table in my home, and they sit there and collect dust. Right now that's their job. And I have a couple of feathers tucked away in a relationship journal ... I don't really remember why but I know they are there. I used to have all manner of colored feathers from a time when I watched over a macaw and an african grey ... which was great fun.

    So please continue on with your cabinet of curiosities ... it's so magical ... I look forward to getting my peek here and there.

  5. I love both but "Her heart broke into a storm of black feathers." is such an evocative and powerful bit of language, such raw emotion to add to the mystery of an unknown story... makes me want to know her story so much...

  6. A cabinet of curiosties - the most perfect thing :) Absolutely wonderful work my friend! Looking forward to more.

  7. I agree, Christina, there is something about vintage photos which lend themselves so well to collage. The one you used of your grandmother is beautiful - and beautifully set.

    Donna, yes! I rather fell into this reciprocal dialog between the two, and I love it. You do a magical job of pairing your beautiful words with beautiful images.

    Thank you for stopping by, Milly! Since playing with collage, my collection of found objects has been growing. I just wish I had a beautiful coastline nearby to troll...

    I love the idea of a glass full of black feathers, Jan! Beautiful. That sounds like the germ of a story or poem right there.

    Thanks, Carrie. She's still remaining frustratingly closed mouthed...but I'm sure that will change when I least expect it... I have the image of her bursting into the room Python Spanish Inquisition like...

    Thanks, Roisin. I'm dying to get at the rest of them.