Bold Biot Feathers
Here are three fascinators using goose biot feathers.
I find that goose biot feathers are the strangest of all feathers
and yet I like to use them to dramatize some of my pieces. I
could only find black in Houston, which frustrated me, so I finally
asked my daughter to order me some in colors.
Eleven colors arrived at the end of last week but I had things to do before
I could take time to play. Colors are from left to right, red, yellow, green,
fuchsia pink, white, turquoise, salmon pink, royal blue, magenta, orange
I asked Google this question. What are goose biots? Here’s the answer.
A biot is simply a single fiber from the leading, or front, edge of a primary
(first row) wing feather. On the feather, the biots lay against each other,
leaning toward the tip of the wing. This allows air to pass over them
and flow against the fibers on the rear side of the feather, which are longer
narrower, and more delicate, providing lift for flight. This is similar
to an airplane’s wing… wide, blunt in front, tapering toward the rear.
It is easy to tell the biots apart from the rear fibers, as they are shorter,
stiffer, and lay closer to the quill stem.
Did that make any sense to you? Me neither, as it was answered
by a man who used them for fishing lures. I guess as a woman milliner,
I was looking for a romantic answer. I decided to play with my
biots and not worry about anything else. So here are my fascinators.
The first I feel is bold and glamorous.
This one I had no choice but to use black biots because I did
not get any beige, tan or brown from this company because
they didn’t have anything but primary colors. This fascinator
came about because of a feather ball I had already made with
This was a time consuming experiment. I started with a gold filigree
bead ball which you can see on the right. I carefully added feathers
a few at a time, then left it alone for me to rest, then added more until
the ball became a feather ball reminiscent of a pine cone. It is a
beautiful feather ball, but very tedious to make.
I then made a feather pad using the ball and black biots.
Before I attached it to the base I decided it needed some pheasant
feathers hanging from the bottom of the base.
From this angle you can see how it all works together.
I covered the teardrop shaped base with black velvet.
Now you can see how striking and bold biot feathers
are on any piece.
The second one was inspired by a package of fabric that
arrived from my sister Norma who lives in England. She
knows what I am doing and finds bits and pieces of unique
fabric that she thinks I will love. I thoroughly enjoy opening
her little thoughtful gifts.
The box only arrived yesterday and her fabrics ‘spoke’ to
me as I looked through them. This turquoise fabric is see-through
and is a glorious turquoise which I also had in biots. I found a lovely
magenta fabric to go under it and then I could also use the magenta biots
I had. There’s nothing like drama and color together. My daughter
said the fabric reminded her of fish scales and would have been
great for a mermaid. It was just a small piece, so not large
enough for a mermaid tail. Pity! Okay, I have to admit I love
designing costumes as well as hats.
This close up shows you the feather pad I made by adding curled coque
feathers where I stripped away the fuzzy parts. This made the feathers
stand up, rather than fall over the fascinator base and they became short
so as not to overpower the biots. I found a vintage jewelry piece in my
stash where the rhinestones changed colors according to light and
movement and took on the same colors of the feathers.
Biot feathers like all feathers tend to have a mind of their own, but
with patience and a bit of curling, you can bring a bit of order to your
design. Other than that, play, play, play and you will be rewarded.
The third fascinator I had already made but had not added to my blogs
and as I have to work in other directions this week, other than design
I decided to add it to this blog even though once again, the biots are black.
Most of my fascinators have more than one type of feather
on them, because it makes them more unique. This one has
four types of feathers.
There’s always an inspiration to make a piece and this time
it was a lovely green eyed tiger head broach. I covered a round
base with black and green fabric and then made the pad from
black biots, hackle feathers and curled goose feathers. Then
on the front of the pad I added black and green guinea feathers.
This view shows you how unruly the biot feathers are, which I think
adds to this design. To make them more unruly, I simply curled
them more to make them roll up. The more you curl biot tips,
the more they will show off their spiky tips.
If you are reading this because you want to play with more feathers
on your millinery, all I can tell you is, buy some and jump in and
make something. Feathers are not too expensive and if you damage
a few along the way don’t worry. With every mistake, comes a
Now I have to take a few days to help my daughter give a big
garage sale. Here in Texas it is bluebonnet time and the tourists
will be on the highway. We live on the main highway between
Houston and Austin and it should be a good selling weekend.
Time to work!
If you are interested in one of these or any of my pieces, please visit my shop.