Feathers in the Cap of New Ravenna

Cean Irminger was out to make a point

Along with her team of artisans, the creative director at New Ravenna set out to prove their creative capabilities – beyond mosaics and tile-making.

“We’ve been in business so long and wanted to remind people that we’re a high-end custom house and can render anything in glass or stone,” she says.

Et voila! A series of larger-than-life feathers known as “Plume” was born. Their staff photographer shot a number of feather images and blew them up to four feet wide and seven feet tall. Then the artists got to work.

“We placed them on a table, put a paper pattern down and started laying glass mosaics down on top of the paper,” she says. “It’s impossible to say how many pieces – there are probably tens of thousands of glass shards.”

The shards are a 16th-of-an-inch wide and a quarter-inch long. Their background is matte, the feathers, glossy. “We hand-scored them, collected all the materials and hand-shaped them for the piece itself and then hand-glazed them,” she says. “It took about a week and a half.”

When they were done with the shards, the team applied the background around them. “Once the background was dry, it was more like finger-painting than grouting, with color-to-color over the boundaries and over the mix. We let it dry and repainted.”

The result is a total of five monumental mosaic feathers – four from pheasants and one from a guinea hen, with three mounted in a triptych. “The guinea feather in the middle took the longest,” she says.

They debuted at Coverings, and are now mounted and hanging in a New Ravenna showroom in Exmore on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. And yes, they are for sale. “If someone purchases them, we would frame them,” she says.

But that’s not the point. The point is that these are artists with a vision. “There’s so much in a feather, an everyday thing that you don’t think about,” she says. “There are so many textures – like the downy bottom and the camouflaged top. It glorifies the wonders of nature.”

And helps us, as William Blake once wrote, to see the world in a grain of sand.

For more, go here.

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