Somewhere, a long time ago, someone came up with the idea of taking feathers and turning them into flowers - I kid you not - feathers were hand dyed, curled and then attached together to make the most delicate millinery flowers. The leaves of these flowers were also made out of curled feathers. There was actually a whole art of feather curling - to make individual feathers look lighter, fluffier, or to resemble petals and leaves.
Most of these flowers have not survived the years of being stored, moved around or attached to hats - but every once in a while I come upon a box full of old feather flowers. While in New York I found a box and was given a handful of them as a gift - the owner knew they wouldn't be around for long - as they were practically falling apart in her hand when she gave them to me.
The feathers stay intact, but the glue holding the flower together is usually flaking and disintegrating. These delicate feathers can sometimes be recycled into new pieces by adding a velvet petal or two. A little twisting here and there with floral tape and a new feather flower emerges.