featherhouse revisited

I signed up for Window Wanderland. Not Winter, not Wonder ~ Window Wanderland. It’s a popular event for dark winter evenings in different parts of Bristol, when people decorate their windows so that other people can wander along the local streets and admire the display, like an arts trail but without anyone coming inside, and with participants of all ages exhibiting. There have been a few now, and this weekend it is the turn of Ashton, Bedminster, Southville. So I signed up.

Inside featherhouse

We have a lot of windows on our corner house – two double bays and one window in between gives us a total of 25 windows at the front of the house, then another half a dozen at the side. That’s a lot of glass-cleaning, but it did give me time to think about what was going to replace the grime, in the end and after talking with Harriet I stuck to a simple theme and just turned the front of the house into a giant featherhouse. The original featherhouse first appeared at a Ship of Fools exhibition in around 1998/99 and I am still very attached to it.

original featherhouse

featherhouse sits in an upstairs window in my room, slightly dusty these days and probably makes no sense to anyone but me. This weekend I turned it round to present the house shape end to passers-by who stop to look. Now above it for Winter Wonderland there are ghostly feathers of tracing paper. All the bay windows are covered in tracing paper to mimic the etched effect on featherhouse, but instead of cut-outs like the swan feathers on the original, I used thin white paper and hand cut lots of feathers. I was struck by how non-featherlike the outlines of real feathers can be, as I copied those from featherhouse and translated them into paper.

outside featherhouse

I think it works, but will add some more upstairs tomorrow.


Inside, during daylight hours, it feels as if we are snowed in, or inside a house made of ice. The light it creates is strangely wintry.