The Cultural Art Gallery of Hawaii
The early Hawaiians had a little-known tradition of featherwork, both in wearing apparel and feather fans, as evidenced by the examples collected on one of the expeditions of Captain Cook in the 1700s.
Because the volcanic islands lacked precious metals or gemstones, the Polynesians and later the Hawaiians came to treasure natural materials such as feathers, Niihau shells, and whale ivory for their beauty and rarity.
Feathers have been associated with wealth in many cultures. In the Solomon Islands, large coils of feathers were even used for currency. Flight has always symbolized freedom and spiritual power, and feathers were used not only by the American Indians in their familiar headdresses, but also in delicate fans used by the Emperors of China. In old Hawaii, the feather cape became a symbol of power, not unlike the crown of a European monarch.
In modern times our wealth is not quite as tangible. It's stocks and bonds, equities, instead of cape and headdress. The kind of investments that don't seem to be holding their value nearly as well as high quality fine art and mastercrafts these days.
Which is to say that if you find one of Beth McCormick's featherwork creations attractive, if you find that you really like it - then we would suggest that you call us and discover how easy it is to acquire a work of art that has already proven to appreciate in value while the owner is enjoying its aesthetic beauty.
And that is what's called a good return on your investment!
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An Original Featherwork Mask
Created by Beth McCormick
Chilean Flamingo, Lorikeet, Lovebirds, Java Green Peacock
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made of natural, undyed, molted feathers
from Federally approved captive birds.
This mask is accented with Vintage Czech and French
Museum-quality presentation casement
Where Does The Artist Get The Feathers?
All parrot and macaw feathers are molted from hand raised domestic pets, primarily from the Big Island. These include species such as the hyacinth macaw, which can be valued at over $10,000 per bird.
Feathers from the blue and gold, greenwing, and scarlet macaw, hybrids such as the Catalina and shamrock macaw, as well as Amazonian parrot, eclectus and cockatoo also appear in her pieces. The plumage of several species of commercially raised pheasants are purchased from Mainland sources, in compliance with federal regulations, as are rooster, peacock, and turkey feathers.
Masks are hand-sculpted out of porcelain or stoneware clay, fired, and embellished with freshwater pearls, antique beads, semiprecious stones, and assorted treasures from the artists' collection
Each feather is cleaned, trimmed, and preened individually. The center spine is clasped with tweezers while the feather is steamed, which restores the fibers to their natural curve. The plumes are then sorted as to hue and pattern, at which point they are ready for use.
Then comes the incredibly time-consuming process of affixing each individual feather, placed according to the artist's compositional design, onto the undergirding matrix. There is no big secret about why there are so few featherworkers left . . . it is one of the most labor-intensive art forms of all. For Beth McCormick, it is a labor of love.
Beth McCormick divides her time between her studio on the Big Island of Hawaii and a summer home in Colorado. Her home in Hawaii is the famed "Onion House", the estate of the McCormick Spice family. This unique structure was hand-built by celebrated architect Kendrick Banggs Kellogg, an originator of the school known as Organic Architecture.
Ms. McCormick's work has been featured in one-woman and group gallery exhibitions in Hawaii and on the U.S. mainland. Her work is found in private and corporate collections in both Asia and Europe.
Please let us know if you would like more information, or if there are any questions. We would like the opportunity to have you as our client, to show you how much you would enjoy doing business with us.