Federkielstickerei uses feather quills to embroider on leather. The tail feathers of a peacock are split to produce a workable 'thread'. The leather is prepared by using an awl to prick the holes (just like the hole drilling before you can embroider on eggs). Federkielstickerei is an old craft which requires a lot of skill. A Lederhosen (traditional leather breeches) decorated with this type of embroidery has been and still is of great value and seen as a status symbol. Another common sight with traditional men's clothing in the Alpine regions of Germany, Austria and Italy is the Kraxen or broad belt.
Below is a charming short video featuring Georg Leitner, one of the last men earning his living with this ancient form of embroidery:
Hope you enjoyed this blog post and I would love to meet you at the Leonhardimarkt early November :)!
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