On Thanksgiving Monday I attended the 159th annual Rockton World Fair. The sunny weather reached a record high as thousands of people flocked to see the horse show, cow milking and sheep shearing demonstrations, baking and quilting competitions, tractor pull and barnyard animals of every kind. But for me (and my camera) the highlight was the Poultry, Pigeon and Rabbit Show.
I adore rabbits yet I didn’t take a single photograph of one. It was the undeniable allure of bold, colourful feathers that immediately grabbed my attention.
I’m fascinated by colour, texture and pattern and these birds’ beautiful plumage offer an infinite source of design inspiration. Stylish. Extravagant. Dramatic. Graceful. Birds must have inspired the saying “Flaunt it if you’ve got it.”
At first I began taking detailed photos of just their feathers, but slowly I started to see that not all the birds reacted in the same manner when I approached them. When I realized that each bird possessed a unique personality, I started taking these portraits. Like humans, some were more interesting than others. These were not the most beautiful birds in the show, just my favourite personalities. A few had gentle dispositions. Others were aggressive and pecked at my hands and camera if I got too close. And one little beauty was able to sleep amidst the noise and mayhem of the show.
These birds may be raised for their meat and eggs, but they are more than just food, they are something to behold. I’m inspired by their bold, attractive patterns and distinctive markings. And their unusual colour combinations are sure to find their way into at least one of my scarf designs; creamy white, pale gold and light orange, bright red and turquoise, or deep chestnut and rich lustrous greenish-black.
There’s no denying, these birds are barnyard beauties.