Ancestral pride spurs ‘floating feathers’ from metal
Cherokee Nation citizen Christopher Daugherty, of Dallas, creates “floating feather” pieces from metal and wood. COURTESY
Christopher Daugherty, left, and his grandfather, Larry Mills, hold a “floating feather” that Daugherty made from metal. COURTESY
Cherokee Nation citizen Christopher Daugherty created this “floating feather” piece from metal and wood. COURTESY
DALLAS – A Cherokee Nation citizen has created what he calls “floating feathers” from metal as a unique way to embody his family’s heritage.
“My grandpa just said, ‘Hey, make me something,’” Christopher Daugherty said. “So I got to looking around for inspiration, things like feathers or dream catchers – things that say heritage, Native American, Cherokee. I kind of decided on a feather that I found and went from there.”
The finished feathers, approximately 6 inches long with wooden bases, were gifted to several family members, Daugherty said. His grandfather, CN citizen Larry Mills, of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, described the pieces as having “breathtaking expertise and quality.”
“They’re very special, one-of-a-kind,” Mills said. “He designed them in his own mind and built them out of Invar, which is a metal that will not expand or contract under high temperatures or low temperatures. It’s really a special metal. It looks like stainless steel or chrome.”
By trade, Daugherty, 42, is involved in the manufacture of medical equipment. He designed his signature feather on a computer-aided design and manufacturing program, then used an electric discharge machine to carve the shape.
“When it comes out of the machine, it’s got a bit of a satin finish to it, and that all has to be sanded by hand and polished to get that mirror look,” Daugherty said.
While he lives in a neighboring state, Daugherty enjoys visiting his Cherokee relatives in Oklahoma.
“I really get into the heritage when I’m around my grandfather and that side of the family,” he said. “You’ll go into my mom’s house or my aunt’s house and they have their whole Cherokee setup where they have all their heritage things in a shelf displayed. I really enjoy seeing that. My grandfather wrote a book, and that’s enlightened me into a lot of the ways of the past and what’s happened and how our people have come to be.”
Daugherty hopes his passion to craft interesting art from metal and other materials will blossom into a business.
“My plan is to have my own shop in the near future,” he said, “creating things that I want to create.”