Peace Love Music Feathers ; Interview with London based artist, songstress and friend Vera Black – Fashion for the Free 🖤
Please tell us about the “First” feather accessory you made, where were you and where is that piece now?
I remember it was back in 2010 I just finished my first tour across the US, my husband Luke & I played 8 shows in 5 states. We started in New York and ended in LA, those 3 months on the road travelling through the states, really inspired me, it gave me a lot of ideas of how I wanted to visually look like on stage.
I couldn’t find what I was looking for to create that look, so I decided to have a go at making my own accessories and outfits….
I made a trip to the Feather Place in Downtown LA and met Cristina, it was her first day there and she is still there to this day.
She showed me through the whole range and I bought a load of feathers, at this stage not really knowing what I was going to do with them.
When I got back home to Sydney, I started to experiment. I discovered you could create incredible patterns by layering feathers on top of one another and I became obsessed..
The first thing I made was a beaded feather hair clip, they look very different to when I first started, they are a lot more detailed now.
I wore those same feathers everyday for about 4 years, until one day my Mum was helping organize my workshop and I walked in to see her taking apart my prized possession, the first feather clip I ever made. I was like “OMG! What are you doing??” She screamed and threw it in the air, “I thought this was just some old thing, it doesn’t look like anything you would have made.” I told her how it was sentimental and it was the first thing I made…She felt so bad…but it was actually the best thing to happen as now, I never keep anything, I sell everything and wear whatever is my latest design. It’s quite funny, now….
What inspires you when making a new piece?
Many things, some of my designs come to me in my dreams, I wake up with a mental picture of what I’m going to create.
Materials I am working with also inspire, I love shopping for materials, that’s when you get a good picture in your mind as to what you could create.
I get all excited when I have new colors, beads and materials to play around with. Being a musician I get inspired by other musicians and their fashion, I like to design things that I think, Keith Richards, Jim Morrison, Stevie Nicks or Johnny Depp might like to wear, chances are other people who like their style would like to wear them to.
Why use feathers…?
I come from a Maori background, which is native to New Zealand, feathers were worn to show status in the tribe as well as a spiritual purpose, much like Native American’s. Also growing up in the country in Perth, Western Australia, I had my own horse, I was always collecting fallen feathers and braiding them into my horses hair or in my own….
I had no idea that it would lead me to braiding and working with feathers everyday of my life, whilst building a successful fashion label.
Where can people find you?
My workshop has been based in Twickenham for the last 5 years, which is just outside of London in the UK. There are 4 of us in my home workshop hand making everything to keep up with the demand.
My husband runs our Camden Stall at Camden Lock Market, he is there every Weekend and some days during the week. I trade at the famous Portobello Market every Saturday, which is where I first started when I first moved to London. This is my one-day out of the workshop, so it’s quite a social day for me, I have lots of friends there.
Nearly all our U.S. customers, have found us on ETSY, also our online store is VERABLACK.COM. I am also available to do custom designs for whatever the occasion.