Bead and Feather Ensemble
Gail Be, American, United States, 2004
This sassy and exotic ensemble is made from over 5,000 peacock feathers, 24kt gold Venetian glass beads, vintage and modern Swarovski Austrian crystal beads and American dichotic glass pieces.
The skirt is made from over five hundred peacock tail feathers, each adorned with a sparkling Swarovski crystal. Only the very tips of eleven peacock capes (neck and back feathers) were used to create the dazzling top and belt in order to give them the natural iridescent Caribbean blue-green color.
All cape feathers were taken from peacocks that died of natural causes. All tail feathers are taken from peacocks during their annual shedding period. I personally go pick out all my peacock feathers by hand. All birds are raised on a peacock farm in southern MN where they run around freely.
I believe I honor these birds by using their naturally colored feathers—they are so beautiful that their colors actually look “fake”. And even though I believe this ensemble is awesome I still have no question that the real star here is Mother Nature.
In the winter, I live and design in my studio in Mexico, which is right on the Caribbean Sea. I am in LOVE with the blue green of that amazing water and this design was inspired by those colors.
The vintage Swarovski crystal beads were manufactured in Austria, are in pristine condition and they were taken directly from their original packages. The 24kt Venetian beads were each individually handcrafted by artisans that still use the original 800 year old technique. They are being used for the very first time in this incredible design.