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Throughout history, people have found diverse uses for bird feathers, from embellishing hats and masks to crafting intricate jewelry, and much more. However, Chris Maynard took feather art to another level.

The artist himself previously described what he does: "I carve birds' feathers into intricate art in order to make their natural beauty more noticeable. The work highlights the patterns and colors of the feathers themselves, inviting the viewer to look and look again. For me, feathers represent flight, transformation, and a bridge between our present lives and our dreams."

Chris's art requires a lot of patience and attention to the details that deserve another look and appreciation.

More info: Instagram | featherfolio.com | Facebook

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Cosmikid
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

When the artist is having fun with their art - it shows!

Bored Panda reached out to Chris, who told us more about his journey into feather art.

“I have always been enamored with feathers and I want to foster appreciation and understanding of the natural world. Birds shed feathers sort of as gifts and yet they retain their durability, beauty, and complexity. I share a yearning to fly with people from all walks of life as feathers are universally symbols of this yearning. Because of this, it made sense to focus on feathers as my medium. So I developed a method of preparing the feathers so they will hold together to carve,” shared Chris.

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Cosmikid
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I could put my nose within an inch of this- and still not be satisfied I can see/feel well enough...

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Cosmikid
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Swifts, I think? "Apodidae" family- "without feet". Truth- they sleep while they fly- and the young - hatch, fly- and do NOT touch ground again for - some say 10 months; some say 2? 3? YEARS. The quintessence of flight.

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Chris also shared what draws him to a particular feather.

“Feathers for me are my canvas. So I like big feather canvases like turkey tail feathers. Birds have colorful feathers but the reds and yellows are usually small body feathers so I don't work much with color. However, feathers come in all sorts of patterns — mostly to help a bird hide, to blend into their environment like camouflage,” explained Chris.

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Feather art seems to require a deep understanding of the feathers' natural patterns and textures. Therefore, we were wondering how the artist approaches the carving process to ensure he enhances and preserves these features.

“I want to honor birds and their feather gifts so I don't flatten them to a background but keep their natural shapes (and color). To do that, I raise each carved feather about a centimeter from the cotton paper background. So the mounted feathers appear three-dimensional, which they are. This in turn creates shadows that are integral to my work,” wrote Chris.

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Chris’s art emphasizes the connection between feathers and concepts like flight, transformation, and bridging between present life and dreams. We asked the artist to elaborate on how these themes influence his creative process and the messages Chris aims to convey.

“When we think of the meaning in feathers, we first think of flight. I want to feel what it is like to bodily swoop and soar and look over the earth. But I can't do that, so feathers substitute as symbols for this yearning. Although I am inspired by many things like the birds themselves, the theme of flight is often a major influence. So the messages are often about hope, the achievement of dreams, and transformation. An ultimate compliment to me about my work is when someone says, 'I now see feathers and birds in a new way.'"

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The artist also walked us through his typical workflow, from selecting feathers to completing a piece.“Sometimes just holding and feeling and looking at a particular feather will inspire a design. More often, I have an idea and have to find the right feather. It has to be perfect. Then I prepare it to carve. I draw a rough design on paper, transfer it to the computer to refine, take a picture of the feather I want to use, and size it and the drawing on the computer. Then I carve — using scalpels mostly. Then the carved feather is mounted, like I said, about a centimeter from the background and glued in place. Then I sign and photograph in the studio.

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All of this is kind of a meditative focus for me, it is my happy place,” shared Chris.

And lastly, Chris added: “I support laws meant to protect birds even when they restrict me from using certain feathers. Other than turkey feathers, the feathers I use are mostly shed from captive birds that are native to countries outside North America.”

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philiprutter avatar
Cosmikid
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Ok, you're not fooling me - that's a fish. Not a bird. Some sort of sculpiny-thing, I'd guess, under what might be grebe feet. I'd be fascinated to know what percentage of the comments you receive consist primarily of some variation of "um. um. I'm speechless!"

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Cosmikid
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Somebody gave you an Escher book when you were five, rigth?

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Nicole Weymann
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2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Another feather that looks loke it was made to be used for a fish motif - freshwater, maybe trout?

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