Chris Maynard carves feathers into intricate art. He combines his artistic sense and scientific knowledge into a new art form. His message is one of beauty and appreciation of life. He uses surgery tools to carve the feathers while striving to respect their form. He sets them apart from the background so their shapes are enhanced as they cast shadows. Unlike a painter’s palette, the choice of colors in feathers is quite limited. Nevertheless, Maynard keeps the natural colors and patterns of each feather. Many of the birds whose shed feathers he recycles into his art are still alive. He gets his feathers from aviaries and all are legal to have.
Since feathers can represent flight, transformation, and a bridge between our present lives and our dreams, Mr. Maynard is grateful that his art has hit a soft-spot in the hearts of many people and cultures. His work is in museums and private collections in North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia and has been featured in print and online around the world. Mr. Maynard’s recent book, Feathers Form and Function highlights his art while informing us about what feathers are, how they grow, what they do for birds, and what they mean to us.
An Unusual Event
I carve feathers into intricate art. I combine the essence of the bird inherent in each feather with scientific understanding and design expertise into a new art form. I set the feathers apart from their backgrounds so their curves and shapes are enhanced and cast shadows according to the intensity, quality and direction of light. Unlike a painter's palette, the choice of colors in feathers is quite limited. Nevertheless, I keep the natural colors and patterns of each feather. Feathers are often perceived as endearingly delicate, but they are actually quite tough, having to keep a bird clothed, sheltered, and in flight for a year until they are shed. In the same vein, my feather shadowboxes are meant to appear delicate but maintain their integrity for many years. All feathers used are legal to have and sell. Often, the birds that shed them are still alive.