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Feathers find their way into my art as drawings, paintings and photographs. When I make paper bowls, it’s exciting to use real feathers for their color, pattern and texture. It’s hard not to pet the bowls!

This is a wide, flat bowl about 5 inches/12.5cm wide. Guinea hen feathers are on the outside, while the interior is flecked with gold leaf left over from a gilding job.

The bowls are made by first layering strips of gift wrap tissue paper over a glass form using thin washes of glue. That’s followed by five or six layers of thin strips of handmade paper. The bowls dry overnight, are removed from the form and the interiors are lined in the same way. Once all of the paper is dry, it’s time for embellishment. This can mean  feathers, copper leaf or paper with special patterns.

Here’s a bowl made with similar papers to the one above, but larger and rounder. This one is 6 inches/15cm across and about 4 inches/10 cm tall.

I made a mistake with this next bowl, forgetting to put it back on the form as the interior dried. Oh, well. Let’s just call that shape “organic.” It glows with a candle inside. Those are ring-necked pheasant feathers. It’s about 3 inches/7.5 cm tall.

This last one was created on a square fluted glass form, so it picked up the imprint of the flutes and also uses pheasant feathers. It’s the same size as the previous bowl.

Although the bowls are small and fragile in the sense that you could crush one in your hand, they’re surprisingly sturdy when lightly handled. They’re eggshell thin, yet stiff and strong from the layers of glue. Usually I don’t put anything in them, though, because I think they look prettiest sitting empty.

The technique is found in the book, “Paper Craft” by North Light books, but instead of using the suggested wallpaper paste, which tends to create a horrible, lumpy mess, use thinned down Elmer’s glue instead. You’ll end up with a light, delicate bowl. Try it! They’re so fun to make.

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