Now with Wings

Icarus wings

Icarus wings made from willow wands, rags, feathers and wax.

As I slid across the lino on the bathroom floor for the umpteenth teen, I wondered how I got in this state in the first place and how I would explain myself to the staff at casualty.
A month or so before I had been contacted with a commission to make a pair of Icarus wings for a segment on a BBC schools programme with dance interpretations of traditional stories.
The brief was that all the materials could feasibly be found in the tower that Icarus and Daedalus were locked up in, that they could fold back with the dancer’s arms and that they must under no account look like bat wings. After liaising with Beth Hannant-McCausland, costumier extraordinaire, my workroom became filled with half a willow tree and an awful lot of feathers.
I made an oversized fan socket out of fabric into which I stapled the ends of the stripped willow branches, making sure not to do too good a job of it so it all looked a bit “knocked up” then I wove through strips of rag to make basic support structure. on top of this was added a layer of knitted webs, made using 25mm needles (huge) and on top of all this went the feathers, an awful lot of feathers. Some whipped on using thread and some glued.
The final part caused me all the bother, the candle wax. Not wanting to damage my carpets which were already covered with bark, leaves and feathers. I took the wings into the bathroom with it’s linoleum floor so that I could drip 6 candles worth of wax all over them (and the floor). The wings were a success and the production company, Lambent, were very pleased and it went on telly and all that but it still left the problem of the floor. Months later I was still sliding about. Having nightmares of skidding into the bath or basin and cracking my head open, a footnote in a news article on bizarre deaths.
The wax has worn off now and things are back to, eh-hum, normal but at least it was all worth it for the end result.

The bare bones
The finished wings


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