Artist Chris Maynard loves birds, and in the spirit of famed bird artist and ornithologist John James Audubon, he creates art about them. But these aren’t just paintings or traditional studies. Maynard’s art showcases the natural beauty of birds by using bird feathers as the medium. Don’t worry–no birds are ever harmed in the process. Maynard only uses feathers that have been naturally shed by the birds, and many of his “contributors” continue to lead happy and healthy lives to this day.
So many birds have fascinating, vibrant feathers in a variety of patterns, colors and textures. Their feathers didn’t need any embellishment. Maynard’s cut-feather sculptures are striking not only in their tiny, intricate detail, but also in the way that Maynard’s additions highlight their natural beauty.
Using eye surgery scissors, forceps and magnifying glasses, Maynard cuts the feathers into intricate designs. The feathers are cut and arranged in shadow boxes. The feathers themselves become the basis for the compositions, with the cut-outs, as well as their negative spaces, forming a tiny scene.
Besides carving the feathers into shapes, Maynard also showcases feathers in their natural, and equally beautiful, state. He arranges his collected feathers into striking compositions all on their own.
Though he’s been working with feathers since he was 22, Maynard only started showing his work in 2010. In addition to showing his work, he’s also a supporter of conservation laws for the protection of many species of birds and their habitats. In addition, all the feathers used by Maynard are legal to own and sell.
“Since feathers can represent flight, transformance, healing, and a bridge between our present lives and our dreams, [I’m] grateful that [my] work with feathers has hit a soft-spot in the hearts of many people and cultures,” he says.
You can check out more (much more!) of his work on his site.