17 May 2012

Process-Ruffled Feathers

 Photographed by Robert Fairer

a recent post prompted a reader to flee.
such is the path of posts that do not jive completely with the reader. that's not to say I don't appreciate every reader, cherish them even, but I can't stop this page from doing what it does-
Francis Bacon's  There is No excellent Beauty that hath not some Strangeness in the Proportion abideth Not without purpose above.

The offending  post- in memory of Blue Birdie-references E.F. Benson's books & the demise of Mrs Wyse's Blue birdie.
Are We are so grounded in Life on Earth, that we are chained in a sense?
Are We offended by it?
There is no Life without Death.
One reader put it best & I paraphrase here:

make it an aspiration to regard LIFE assuaged by BEAUTY in all her FORMS and DEGREES from BIRTH to DEATH.

It started with the hat- A Hat- this one by Stephen Jones made for & worn by Stella Tennant.
The fleeing reader wrote: the celebration of hats festooned with the corpses of birds, beautiful in life, grotesque in death... the capper has to be the enthusiasm about the Lucia series and the fate of Blue Birdie - one of Benson's more piercing satires, aimed yes, at fools like you. No more Little Augury for me.

 Photo: David Hartley/Rupert Hartley/Rex/Rex USA via VOGUE

I write for the most part as IT goes-whether in depth or in flight,
but always with purpose & thought.  

Nature Morte, literally, Nature Dead.

 Photographed by Robert Fairer

Stella Tennant apparently loves animals- also taxidermy. The two are not mutually exclusive. According to Sarah Mower of VOGUE- Tennant had a much-beloved swan of hers, which tragically died, stuffed by a local expert near her home in Scotland.
Fortune smiled on the model, grand daughter of the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, when her able taxidermist  bagged a pair of African Whydah birds with long tails and orange beaks Tennant immediately saw at Ascot- on her Hat.
She flew off to London via train from her home in Edinburgh with the birds to the atelier of Mad Hatter Stephen Jones.

“They are going to hover, I think,” said Jones, placing the hat on her, tilting it just so, while intricately pinning the birds aloft on near-invisible wires. 
“Brilliant! I love the airiness of it. It’s like they’re flying!” Tennant exclaimed.

Nature moves with astonishing speed & light.
LIFE lived on instinct.
They do not seek Beauty-they are Beauty.
They do not fear dying nor do they understand satire.
No-it's not the bird I pity.

read Mower's HAT story here.
follow ASCOT here.


  1. Well, this is complicated issue! Did you know that the Audubon Society started...it was because many species of birds were threatened with extinction; because of women's hats????

    It is true.

    I am an "animal and child advocate"! (pronounced by the best "ShrinK" in the world!!)

    However; I have a very few pieces of "Taxidermy"! Long before I was born; these birds (there are 4; Tony Duquette bought them from the museum of natural history in Los Angeles)

    I also have a leopard covered stool. It came home from a safari in the 30's. (My elderly friend who had the two Madam DuBarry sphinx gave them to me!I I consider those honoring the animals.

    New , fresh furs!

    EEEEEEEEEK!!! Now way! That means when you buy one; there is a need to replace one. NO WAY!!!

    Just my opinion!!!!


  2. I, personally, appreciate getting my feathers a little ruffled and my hackles up a bit--that is when I'm forced to take a long hard look at myself and either grow or stay stuck; the latter option is not a very profitable choice.

  3. To begin, your Bacon citation is very possibly (and I know you won't object to the thought) as fine a contribution to our active consciousness as anything ever published beneath it. It is just a devastatingly fundamental and portable concept. I have it in mind recurringly in my own stress on the value of proportion, which can so often be cited for dull authority.

    But here I think it is plain that it was more important to the reader to exhibit one of his possessions than it was to endure the nakedness of approaching something original. He demands to take a 'moral position' against an artistic project which defies it (the hat is brilliantly ungrotesque); and there can be no doubt of his feeling expelled from the page, by his own rashness.

    I wouldn't say this reflex is especially rarely exhibited.

  4. Im fine with it as long as they were not killed just for the hat, then again I feel the same about killing animals for just he fur. although I am definitely not fanatical about it , if thats what you want to wear its not my business. I do understand the use of hides because people eat the cows from which they came from.
    Other than that, its a very interesting post, and the hat is beautiful because I do happen to love anything BIRD!
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Karolyn-The Relished Roost

    1. Sorry to let you know the leather hides are NOT a byproduct of the meat industry. In fact the hides will be more flexible if harvested while the animal is still alive! Please see WWW,EARTHLINGS.COM

  5. LA- I for one shall be staying put with you, The hat and the birds x x

  6. Guess I'm a fool too .... love the Lucia series.

    I agree with you, its not the bird I feel sorry for. And, the former reader will be all the poorer without you daily posts, which enrich my intellectual life!

  7. I personally think it is bad taste to use real birds on hats, regardless of how they look, or whether they died naturally.

    To add a lighter note, the whole affair reminds me of the old song, The Bird on Nellie's Hat, in which the bird in question tattles on its owner:

    Then to Nellie Willie whispered as they fondly kissed,
    "I'll bet that you were never kissed like that."
    "Well he don't know Nellie like I do",
    Said the saucy little bird on Nellie's hat.

  8. Here is my contribution! I had my iPhone in my garden......there are many thousands of "Hooded Orioles" who show up in Santa Barbara next door to me in the palm trees on April first of any year!

    When I first had my iPhone app (IBird Pro); I went outside and went to the "hooded oriole" and clicked on song! It played two of them; I went straight for the second!

    A male hooded oriole landed on my hat within two minutes!

    I love, love, love birding! and I love IBirdPro as much as any app!




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