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Chris Maynard Feather Art

By: on September 28, 2016
Chris Maynard Feather Art

Chris Maynard's father was an eye surgeon. Chris inherited his manual dexterity. His precision. His patience. He also inherited his father's tools. But instead of becoming an ophthalmologist, he decided to use them to become a different type of visual artist. Chis applies his family's eye surgery scissors, forceps, and magnifying glasses, and his own extraordinary talent to feathers. Collecting real, naturally shed bird feathers from private aviaries and zoos, he creates the incredible shadow boxes you see here.

I recently sat next to a dude named Greg on the airplane, a metal artist, who told me about this buddy of his who does amazing things with surgical tools and feathers. Since I had already paid out the Uranus for inflight WiFi, I went ahead and Googled him. For once, it was a good decision. Holy crow, can you imagine how exacting the hand has to be that cuts not only recognizable shapes, but entire scenes so intricate they may as well have been laser sliced out of paper, out of millions of flyway fibers* of feathers? I can't even snip a quill off a feather without F'ing it up.

Maynard sells his work in several galleries around the country. He has also compiled a book of feather art, Feathers Form & Function, which you can purchase signed for $40 through his website.

Most of the feathers Maynard uses are non-native North American species, the exceptions being those from turkeys and grouse.

*Official name, per internet: "barbules."