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Antlers are extensions of an animal's skull and are therefore referred to as “true bone.” They are fed by blood which is carried by the fuzzy velvet that covers them. Antlers need a special mix of protein + minerals in order to grow, along with “day-length” - long, sun-filled days which trigger testosterone production. When antlers are “in velvet” they are hot to the touch and very fragile. Deer, moose or caribou will fiercely protect their antlers and be cautious as they move through wooded terrain.

Feathers are amazingly complex. By design, they are wind and waterproof, allowing the bird to stay warm and dry. Besides allowing birds to take flight, feathers trap body heat while other types of feathers can hold water, catch bugs and assist in balance (weight distribution) when a bird is perched. When a bird is preening itself, it's actually straightening out all its feathers, making sure the barbs are properly aligned. This is to ensure easy, safe flight and all of these other capabilities.

Painting feathers and antlers is an artistic thrill and a technical challenge. Both are structured in complex + superior ways, making their details difficult to capture with a brush.

The anatomy of feathers has long intrigued me and over the years, I've amassed quite a collection of them. They represent so many things to so many people. Feathers seem to inspire hope and portray strength, becoming beacons and mantras on our human journey. In First Nation cultures, feathers are an important part of ceremony and culture – an Eagle Feather can represent a friendly welcome, peace and also a sign of prominence and power.

Antlers have an amazing weathered texture and the colours of white, grey, yellow mix together in subtle casts throughout the bone. The landscape of antlers (and skulls) tells an intriguing story of permanence, longevity and grace. Living in BC's north, antlers are a part of our lives in one way or another. Our homes and workshops often have an antler or two displayed as part of our everyday lives, nature's original art.

I hope this collection inspires people to explore the intricate details of Feather + Bone – to take the time to inspect them, journey through them and appreciate their message and beauty. Use them to guide you, remind you and inspire you to be Soft + Strong at the same time."

Leah Pipe // Artist // Hazelton, BC

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