We have so much talent in the Supernatural fandom! Fans draw works of art, edit photos, make videos, write fanfics, create costumes or props, craft jewelry, and much more. It’s time to showcase some of the #SPNFamily’s talent and ask the people behind the creations some questions!
Today I'd like you to meet Deb and Kevin, the people behind Dark Feather Enterprises, LLC.
We know each other through DarkHunters (that´s another story), therefore, I was able to watch the development of Dark Feather Enterprises, LLC from the very beginning. This is why I am glad that I was able to do this interview.
Like always, my first questions are about Supernatural. How and when did you became a fan of Supernatural?
Deb: I have been a Supernatural fan for years. A co-worker turned me on to the show but I was just a casual fan for a while. It wasn't until the past 2-3 years that I got more involved with the fandom and the #SPNFamily in general. I became more active on Twitter, which led to watching Creation convention videos online, which led to actually attending cons and then buying our Impala to restore. That snowballed into starting our 3D printing business, Dark Feather Enterprises, LLC.
What does the Supernatural fandom mean to you?
Deb: The Supernatural fandom is so much more than fans of a TV show. Over the years, it has turned into a family and this is completely because of the example set by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. They treat everyone involved with the show, including one time guest stars, as family. As a fandom family, how can we do any less? Interacting with other Supernatural fans online, at a con or an event is an amazing experience. Being part of a group that totally "gets" you is a wonderful thing.
How did you got the idea for the 3D printing?
Deb: Again it came about as an idea to help with the car restorations. My husband, Kevin, thought that if we couldn't find some of the rarer car parts we would need, then we might be able to 3D print them, at least until we could find the original part needed. The business also helps with the financial aspect of the car restoration as well. Restoring cars of this type, to the level we want, is not an inexpensive proposition. Right now though, our main focus is getting Dark Feathers Enterprises established.
How did you come up with the name Dark Feather Enterprises?
Deb: It's funny but the name actually came from the cars we are restoring. We have an Impala and also Lincoln Mark V which fans of the show will recognize as Cas' car. Our Impala is named "Amara D. Impala" after the Darkness and the Mark V is named "Feathers", so the name evolved from there.
I'm curious. What do you need for 3D printing and from where do you get it?
Deb: First you need a high quality, dependable 3D printer. It helps that my husband, Kevin, had experience as an aerospace machinist but that is not a requirement to learning how to 3D print. You need to decide what your printing media (the material you print with) will be and believe me there are many choices. There is also design software that you must learn how to use. Then you need patience because there is much to learn and many failures when you are first starting out. We found our printers by researching online and being a part of several 3D printer groups.
From where did you get your ideas?
Deb: We get ideas for prints from all over. We look to TV shows and movies a lot but we also search the internet for ideas.
Are there sketches or is everything only created at the PC?
Deb: We can take a sketch and turn it into a print but most of the time ideas are worked out on the computer first.
What was the first article/item you created?
Deb: After the test print to make sure the printer was set up and working properly, we started printing angel blades.
How many failures have you had, or did everything work out right away?
Deb: Nothing in 3D printing ever turns out well the first time. It's not just pushing a button and letting the computer do all the work. There is a lot of what we call R & D, research and development, involved. It took us a few weeks to get the angel blade to print the desired length. We wanted it as close to the size of the ones on the show as we could get. With every new print we do, there is always the possibility of failure, whether it is a new design or one we have been doing for a while.
What is the procedure?
Deb: We take a design, like our newest addition, the full size First Blade and create a computer file for it. This file is what tells the printer what to print. It is created on a PC and then loaded onto the printer's memory card. Several factors need to be considered including the temperature of the print bed (this is the flat surface that the object adheres to while it's printing,) the temperature of the print nozzle (this is where the filament is melted.) and the speed at which the printer prints. Any variation of these parameters can cause the print to fail. The time it takes to get a completed print depends on the complexity of the item being printed. For example, the full size First Blade takes over 40 hours to complete. This is just the printing, it does not include painting. Also, a print can fail at any time. It's not unheard of to have an almost completed print fail. Changing room temperatures is also a major cause of print failure.
How long does it take to finish a product?
Deb: This depends on the item being printed and will vary greatly. The miniature First Blades we make take 3 hours to print but each one is individually hand painted so that takes a while. Full size Angel Blades take approximately 12 hours to print but because they are one color, the painting takes less time.
I saw that Adam Rose asked who had a 3D printer because he had an idea. I saw that you responded to it. Can you tell me about it?
Deb: We were in touch with Adam Rose about a project but I can't say more.
That leads me to the question: if someone has an idea and wants something created, can they come to you and work something out with you? Yeah, I'm talking about the Supernatural cookie cutters I need. Lol
Deb: Absolutely! If it's something we can do, we are happy to do it. If we can't, we will let you know. Again, we have to be careful not to violate any trademarks.
What do you have in designs, and for which fandoms?
Deb: We have been focusing on Supernatural at the moment but we will be expanding into other fandoms soon. We also have a few Dr. Who and Stargate items and I have a friend who suggested we do some "Dungeons and Dragons" stuff. We are open to fan suggestions, though, and would love to hear what the fans would like to see. We do have to be very careful not to violate any trademark agreements.
What is the ordering process, like where to order, delivery time and more?
We will have our Facebook shop open soon so people can direct order there but until then they can message us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for questions and ordering.
I know that you sell your items at conventions. Where can the SPNFamily find the info about the cons you attend?
Deb: We will be at most of the Supernatural Creation cons this year and we announce those on all our social media accounts. (You can find the info at the end of the interview)
What are your plans for the future? New products, own website or something else?
Deb: We plan to continue expanding our product line. We want to add more conventions to our schedule next year and would ultimately like to do this full time for a living. Right now, I am still working full time as a veterinary technician and Kevin is medically retired.
I know that "Dark Feathers" is more than just a 3D printing company, but I don't think everyone knows this. So please tell us more about “Amara D Impala” and “Feathers”.
Deb: Let's talk about Amara (1967 Chevy Impala) first. We found her about 60 miles away from where we live. We bought her off another Supernatural fan who was unable to restore her. She was in pretty rough shape but we had to buy her once we heard her "story." She originally came from Lawrence, Kansas and was owned by a preacher! Who could resist THAT backstory. We also have two other 1967 Impala parts cars for Amara aptly named Dinner and Dessert, that will sacrifice themselves to make Amara whole again.
Now about "Feathers". We hadn't really planned on restoring Cas' pimp mobile but we found our Mark V quite by accident. The price was right, the car was also very close to our home and road ready. As soon as I saw the car, I knew its name was "Feathers". He did not have the correct paint scheme but his blue interior immediately reminded me of Cas. When I saw his license plate, it sealed the deal - he had come all the way from Washington state, the same state in which Misha Collins now resides. How could I ignore a sign like that?
Our plan for both cars, post restoration, is to use them on the con circuit or for private photo shoots and events to raise money for charities. We don't plan to stop there, though. We would like to have all four of the Horseman's cars, especially Death's 1959 Cadillac.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the SPNFamily?
Deb: We are fans first. We want to provide excellent quality fandom props at reasonable prices. We are very picky about what we sell and each item is thoroughly inspected at each stage of production. If it doesn't meet our standards, we won't sell it. Give us a follow on all our social media accounts to stay updated on the latest Dark Feather Enterprises products and happenings.
Kevin and I would have not been able to get Dark Feather up and going without the help, support and encouragement of our friends Birdy, Carrie, Andrea and Carrie Genzel.
Thanks to all of you.
How do you know Carrie Genzel and how has she supported you?
(Carrie was Linda Bloome in “Bugs” (1.08) and Linda Berman in “Just my Imagination” (11.08)
Deb: We met her before we started Dark Feather. We’ve been fans of hers for years and when she started SLAY, we began interacting with her on social media, specifically Twitter. My husband wanted to make her a special blade that was as amazing as she is. We presented it to her at “The Giving Back Tour” in Indianapolis, 2018. That’s where the photo of the three of us was taken. Because she was flying home, she was unable to take it then. We kept it for her until SPNNASH, 2019 when she was finally able to take it home. That’s when she took the photo with the special blade. We’ve never asked for her support or endorsement. She took those pictures and shared our work with her audience freely, on her own. I had not actually met her in person until about a year and a half ago and Kevin hadn’t met her in person until he gave her the blade at Indy.
(Kevin, Carrie Genzel and Deb)
Now it’s time for the question I ask everyone. If you could change only one thing in the world right now, what would it be?
Deb: This is a hard question, there are so many things I would like to change and if you asked me this question tomorrow, I might have a different answer. I wish that there was more tolerance in the world. Lately, it seems like if you have a different opinion from others, you are just wrong and your opinion is not valid and no one wants to hear it. What happened to respecting our differences as well as our similarities?
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me!
Please share your comments, questions, and reactions below! If you want to follow Dark Feather Enterprises, the links are below:
Thanks for reading.
-Using Words, Telling Stories, The Writer Business-
Read More Stories of Fans who have been "Inspired by Supernatural"! They can all be found in WFB's "Lighter Side" articles!