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Feathers worth more than diamonds

For forty years around the turn of the 20th century, ostrich plumes were the height of fashion, and a major industry: at its peak, ostrich feathers were, ounce-for-ounce, nearly as valuable as diamonds, so much so that £20,000 of feathers went down with the Titanic. The market for feathers was, in large part, run by Jews: Sephardi Jews exported feathers, Jews in London and New York traded them, and Eastern European Jews left Russia and Lithuania in the thousands to farm feathers, flocking to Oudtshoorn "The Jerusalem of Africa." In 1914, the boom ended, leaving many destitute and leading to anti-semitic backlashes. A brief but entertaining history of the feather trade can be read in this PDF excerpt. Some of the beautiful "Feather Palaces" of Oudtshoorn still survive, as does a small Jewish community and some vintage fashion.
posted by blahblahblah on Apr 8, 2014 - 10 comments

Feathers, photographed and scanned.

Feathers, photographed and scanned. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by aniola on Jun 17, 2013 - 16 comments

Mesmerizing!

A contestant on a Spanish talent show builds a mobile using natural materials. It's worth watching to the very end.
posted by carmicha on May 17, 2013 - 32 comments

like, it's FROM a bird, but then there's a bird IN it, i don't even--

Cut feather shadowboxes: feather art by Chris Maynard.
posted by cortex on Jan 29, 2013 - 12 comments

"Dumbo Feather Pass It On is a stupid name for a magazine"

Dumbo Feather is an Australian quarterly print magazine which features five "extended (20 page) profiles of people worth knowing, across enterprise, science, politics, fashion and the arts." They're only just establishing an online presence. Profile archive is slim at the moment, but does include a lengthy interview from their current issue with Chris Anderson, curator of TED. A blog entry asks readers to submit their favorite TED talks, and an ongoing feature: Harnell Fletcher's Interviews with Children is taking submissions, too.
posted by zarq on Aug 4, 2011 - 8 comments

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