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Chris Maynard

AFC Conservation Artist of the Month for January, 2015

Chris Maynard has worked with feathers since he was 12 years old. His unique feather shadowboxes are recognized by art collectors, the press, and a wide and growing variety of people from around the world. Chris is also a dedicated supporter of the AFC mission - nature conservation.

As well as committing a percentage of proceeds to the Audubon Society, Maynard supports specific causes such as negotiating with the owners of the major hydropower dams in the northwestern USA to secure enough water to provide for the flow needs of salmon. With his formal biology training combined with his interest in feathers, you might think he was an ornithologist. But his formal training was in entomology, the study of bugs. So it doesn't quite follow that he ended up working for 20 years in the field of ichthyology--fish.

He also works locally  to reduce harm by large rural development to the sensitive rural areas around where he lives. He is a long-time member of Audubon and a local land trust for which he regularly writes. He often contributes his art to conservation causes, both local and national. In late 2014, he contributed two originals to the World Parrot Trust where it was placed for bid in an on-line auction. The proceeds went to repopulating Blue Fronted Macaws in the Bolivian rain forest.

Maynard aims to honor the feathers and the birds they came from. Since feathers are three dimensional, he does not flattened them to a background but sets them apart allowing shadows to form. His work is enclosed in simple wood framed shadowboxes with glass for the smallest pieces and acrylic for anything larger.

His book, Feather Form and Function was just published in late November, 2014. It is a quality, hardbound tabletop feast of images and text about 'what feather are, how thebirds use them, and what feathers mean to us. Get signed copies from his website, www.featherfolio.com.

People who see his works, read his book, or hear his talks, have the opportunity to see feathers and therefore birds in a new way. His background in biology and conservation are strong themes in his thinking and his art. He is available for speaking engagements; the topic is Feathers: Beauty and Function.

He has, over the years, refined his technique and process to create his present art form. His favorite tools are tiny eye surgery scissors, forceps, and magnifying glasses, some of which he inherited from his father and grandfather.

Feathers are usually seen as endearingly delicate. They are actually quite tough, having to protect a bird from weather and bumps and scrapes for a year or so. The same can be said about his artwork. Given normal care, his pieces endure, like quality paintings.

The feathers he uses are all legal to have and sell in the United States. Since birds shed their feathers more or less every year, they are, in a way, gifts from the birds. He prefers to use molted feathers and his sources are mostly private aviaries. If you live overseas, please check on your requirements for shipping feather artwork to your country.

Previous Conservation Artists of the Month

(October, 2017)
(September, 2017)
(August, 2017)
(July, 2017)
(June, 2017)
(May, 2017)
(April, 2017)
(March, 2017)
(February, 2017)
(January, 2017)
(December, 2016)
(November, 2016)
(October, 2016)
(September, 2016)
(August, 2016)
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