Lorra Lee Rose is perhaps the only artist in the world creating life-size human-like sculptures totally in feathers. Her work is internationally known and now, for this year’s 20th annual Winefest in Amador County she will show and have for sale her recently created life-size feather sculpture of a fairy. Global collectors have discovered and fallen in love with her art. One look on November 11 in the Sutter Creek Auditorium and you’ll see why Lorra Lee Rose’s feather works are so much in demand.
In her studio outside of Jackson CA in the Sierra foothills she’s been creating for three years the Feather Fairy, and she calls it her “monumental passion project.” The concept began in Oakland when she came upon a high-quality female mannequin that was in a sitting position, a rare find. She’s created male torsos, mermaids and even elaborate masks for the Seattle Museum’s Black and White Ball. She knew it was a no-brainer to transform the mannequin into a fairy using her vast 30-year collection of feathers.
Her earliest works were begun in Livermore in 1986 when she was just 23. They were small, but now her life-size human figures, masks and crystals, which form the base for her smaller works, can be seen in museums, prestigious arts festivals and in a limited number of galleries, such as in Palm Desert, Sedona and Sutter Creek. She uses only natural, top quality, legally sourced feathers of varieties that most people don’t see every day.
Where do to the feathers come from? Rose has cultivated a network of pet owners, parrot sanctuaries, and aviaries who gather the molted, natural color feathers for her purchase. Birds shed a small handful of feathers per season, seriously restricting the supply and thus requiring years of patience and preparation. Before they can be used, the feathers must be washed, sterilized, separated, and stored. Her remote, spotless studio is filled with at least 60 large clear bins of feathers, all categorized by type of birds, color and size.
To make the Fairy she built a paper mache form over the original mannequin. When dry, she cut the form off and then stitched the paper mache parts together. The armature for the massive wings was created by her husband Andy Byrne, a master metal worker. Next step was the painstaking process of applying with glue the thousands of carefully selected feathers to the fairy’s body.
For example, to create the dazzling wings which are best admired from the back, Rose used the extremely rare and hard-to-get Great Argus Pheasant feathers which average 28 inches in length. The colors and sizes of the feathers covering the rest of the sculpture result in a total design that is breathtaking. At Winefest you can even help artist Rose give the fairy a name. When asked if she has a motto, she replied with a laugh, “glue, time and patience.”
At the Winefest event on November 11 in the Sutter Creek Auditorium, a central spot by the far wall will be where the Feather Fairy will rest, revolving slowly around. No touching will be the rule, and roped stanchions will remind guests to only gaze and be amazed.
The November 11th Winefest is the annual popular walk-about wine-tasting that takes place in Sutter Creek in Amador County. Over 20 Amador County wineries will each be pouring in the unique shops on Main Street. Check-in starts at 4:00 pm in the Sutter Creek Auditorium, 18 Main Street to pick up your wineglass and wristband. Start bidding on the Silent Auctions of Art, Wines, and Premier Offerings of Gifts and Event Packages. At 4:30, walk Main Street, sipping and shopping, but returning to the auditorium at 7 pm for live music, tastings of desserts and after-dinner wines, and final auction bidding.
Winefest is a benefit for the acclaimed arts education programs of the non-profit AmadorArts, established 35 years ago. Advance tickets of $40 may be ordered using PayPal at www.amadorarts.org
At the door, if still available, $45. Limited tickets sales this year. 209-267-9038.