THE AMANTRY INDUSTRY (FEATHER ARTISANRY)

DESCRIPTION - TOOLS OF THE TRADE - NOTED PROFESSIONALS
MAJOR REGIONS OF PRODUCTION - OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS/BENEFITS - HISTORY

The Amantry Industry comprises the making of clothing, wall hangings, jewelry, decorative items, etc. from feathers and less commonly, dragon scales (the latter are rarely used for anything but jewelry, as they are not exactly readily accessible.) Amantry is largely a luxury industry, very expensive, but gaining in popularity among the upper classes of the human customers. Some wealthy elven individuals also indulge themselves with these products.

The Haloen
View picture in full size Image description. The magnificent haloen, whose feathers are commonly used by the Sarvonian amantry industry. Picture drawn by Enayla.

Description. Feather artists, or Amanters, as they are called, tend to specialize in certain areas. Some prefer to work with jewelry and are also associated with the jewelers and metal working industries. Earrings incorporating brightly dyed feathers and fine metalwork are quite popular, as are necklaces and pendants. A current trend is for earrings that are created with a thin spiraling curl of aurium or silver, with a small bright feather attached in such a way that it hangs inside the spiral. This type of earring is called “Bird In A Cage” and is very popular. Another favourite is the “Butterfly”, with tiny down feathers fastened together to create the “butterfly” shape and attached to the ear hook via a short, fine metal chain. These artists are also typically the ones who use dragon scales in their work, as decorative accents in the jewelry pieces.

The Amanters who work with wall hangings begin with a loosely woven piece of cloth, which forms their canvas. The feathers are usually attached by dipping the shaft end in glue and then weaving it through the cloth, though it is becoming more common to simply glue the feathers in place. Spectacular works of art have been created this way, most of which grace the homes of nobles or royalty. These can be dramatic landscapes, attractive geometrical patterns, the family coat-of-arms, or anything the customer is willing to pay for. There is even a small but thriving underground market for erotic feather art in Lorehaven, site of the foremost Amantry school in Santharia.

Clothing Amanters also work with loosely woven cloth, but their task is more difficult since they cannot use much glue or thick shafted feathers, since this will make the garment too stiff. Instead they need to use the smaller downy feathers and weave or sew them into the pre-made garments. This is one of the more exotic and highly priced products of the Amantry Industry. Such garments are usually versions of special ceremonial robes such as wedding clothes or those associated with high religious rites, for example. They are also popular with the Eyelian people, who work in partnership with the great gryphs and consider it a mark of honour for someone to wear a feather robe for a particular occasion.
Return to the top

Tools of the Trade. All amanters use feathers, although the types of feathers vary depending on availability. The Lorehaven amanters prefer to use the Sarvonian gull feathers since they are strong shafted and hold dye well, though some like the small varcosparrow feathers, since they come in many different colours from orange to blue.

Other popular naturally coloured feathers are psittae (green and blue), cuuloo (multicoloured) , dor'en (yellow and orange), haloen (pale to dark reds) and corbie (glossy black) feathers. Other feathers, in different shapes and colours, may be obtained from the trade ships that come via Varcopas as well. These are mostly used in the southern areas. Northern amanters use the injoh (yellow, black-and-white and green) snowbyrr (cream and white), and nue’mon (blue-white) as well as the northern gull and corbies.

Jewelry Amanters often make and attach their own metalwork, though some buy fittings from metalworkers. They use thin wires of aurium, silver and sometimes other metals, using special glass lenses set into a frame worn across the eyes and held on by hooks behind the ear, to help them see better. These are called “nearseers”, or “neers” for short.

Some of the basic tools required are clamps, hammers, metal cutters, files, polishing tools and cleaning solutions - many amanters use vinegar or soured wine - though other tools may be needed for more fancy work including beads or gems. Amanters also need very fine small scissors for trimming feathers.

A fymble floozy

View picture in full size Picture description. A fymble floozy wearing a beautiful feather hat which was produced  by a Santharian amanter. Image drawn by Bard Judith.

thing Amanters also use trimming scissors and nearseers, though they also have their own specialized tools. Clothing Amanters need very fine needles and thread to attach the feathers firmly in place. Those artists that create wall hangings from feathers need glue. And of course, almost all Amanters use dye, though feather dying is a tedious task usually left to the apprentices. The feathers must be washed thoroughly with soap to rid them of any natural grease or oils, then rinsed completely. The dyes are prepared and the cleaned feathers are placed in a large pot with tiny holes in it. This pot is then lowered into the dye kettles and left for the time required to achieve the desired shade. The feathers are removed and once cooled, laid out to dry thoroughly.

Dyes are bought from the Shendar, and the Aeruillin peoples, through Varcopas, from Holt in northeastern Manthria, and of course, brought by trader's ships from Carmalad. A very few Amanters like to make their own dyes, but this is time consuming and rarely done except for particularly subtle or unusual shades.
Return to the top

Noted Professionals. The Amanters of Lorehaven are especially known for their fine workmanship and skill. The current Masteramanter, a stern human by the name of Jernana Vanmar, is one of the most skilled clothing Amanters ever known. She is constantly experimenting with new materials, techniques and dyes to improve the art of Amantry, and was responsible for the introduction of Shendar dyes into the Amantry trade some twenty years ago, before she achieved her masters rank. She is also noted for her extreme racial tolerance that has permitted other, non-human, non-elven races into the Amantry school in Lorehaven and it was she who set up special classes designed for Brownie Amanters, saying they were uniquely suited to the work due to their small size.
Return to the top

Major Regions of Production. Lorehaven and Southern Sarvonia produce the most Amanters, since the population is large enough there to support a luxury industry. However, there are some Amanters in the larger cities in the north, such as Nyermersys. Most provincial capital cities have at least a couple of Amanters. Elves and humans with elven blood in them are usually excellent Amanters due to their slim, dexterous fingers (similar to those of musicians). As mentioned before, it is unusual, though not unknown, for other races such as gnomes or Brownies to work at feather artistry.
Return to the top

Occupational Hazards/Benefits. Eyestrain is a common problem among jewelry Amanters in particular, though the introduction of the nearseers has improved this situation. Eye irritation due to dye fumes may also occur.
Return to the top

History. Amantry is an old industry but has really only become popular in the last 50-100 years, and then only among the wealthy. The amantry school in Lorehaven has been operating since approximately 600 a.S., though it has burned down once and was partially destroyed by an exploding dye pot when an inattentive apprentice first added the wrong combination of ingredients and then allowed the pot to boil over into the fire below. Both times, however, the school was rebuilt within a year of these disasters. Return to the top

Information provided by Alysse the Likely View Profile