Artist Chris Maynard creates art using a part of the Turkey we don’t eat on Thanksgiving – the feathers. The Olympia, Washington artist delicately cuts and crafts real North American Turkey feathers into beautiful dimensional narratives framed in shadowboxes.
Chris Maynard Feather Art
While there are talented artists out there who paint on Turkey feathers such as Brenda Lyons and Melissa Ball, Chris transforms his feathers into incredible art by using a scalpel, tiny eye surgery scissors, forceps, and magnifying glasses as opposed to paints. He doesn’t flatten the feathers to the page, but keeps their natural curve, adding depth and shadows that compliment the shapes he has created.
Heritage Turkey Tail feathers, 32″ x 20″, 2015
While he uses several types of birth feathers in his work, today – the day before Thanksgiving- I have chosen to share his works made from Turkey feathers (wild, heritage and oscellated), for obvious reasons.
Turkey feathers, 20″ x 30″, 2015
Turkey feather, 20″ x 30″, 2015
Heritage Turkey tail feathers, 30″ x 20″, 2015
Turkey feathers, 15″ x 14″, 2014 (sold)
Wild Turkey feather, 11″ x 15″, 2014
Wild Turkey feather, 17″ x 14″, 2014 (sold)
When Feathers Shed Their Birds
Two heritage turkey feathers, 18″ x 18″, 2016
Perch “n Search
Turkey feather, 21″ x 14″, 2016
“I like cutting turkey tail feathers because the feather is thin. Being a tail feather, it doesn’t have to be very strong or thick to support flight. Wing feathers are harder to cut usually because they have to be thicker. For flight feathers, each barb where it branches off the shaft is kind of like a deep steel I-beam.”- Chris Maynard
Turkey feathers, 27″ x 24″, 2016
Turkey feathers, 21″ x 14″, 2016
Turkey feathers, 16″ x 16″, 2016
Turkey Feather, 18″ x 12″, 2015
Turkey feathers, 14″ x 12′, 2015
Below is a time lapse video of Chris carving a 15″ turkey feather into a piece of art:
Many of these original works are available for purchase through galleries or directly from Chris Maynard. Built sturdily to last, they are made with the finest archival cotton papers. Prices range from just under $1,000 based on size and complexity. Commissions are also available.
His book, “Feathers, Form, and Function,” offers a unique artistic perspective on and insight into the evolution, function and symbolism of feathers and is available for purchase here
About the artist (from his website):
Chris Maynard has worked with feathers since he was twelve. His unique feather shadowboxes are recognized by art collectors, bird lovers, and a wide and interesting variety of people from around the world. He only has time to turn a small portion of his ideas, which fill many notebooks, into his shadow box feather designs. His favorite tools are the tiny eye surgery scissors, forceps, and magnifying glasses passed down through his family.
Maynard combines his strong backgrounds in biology and ecology into not only his art, but also a tabletop book and engaging and informative talks on the beauty, function, and meaning of feathers. He is a member of Society of Animal Artists and Artists for Conservation.
The feathers Maynard uses are from private aviaries and zoos. Most feathers used are from birds not native to North America—even the crow feathers. The exception to using feathers from North America are those from turkeys and grouse. All feathers used in Maynard’s artwork are legal to have and sell.
Follow him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/featherfolio/
See all of his stunning feather work at
all information and images are courtesy of the artist, Chris Maynard