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Upcoming Art Auction To Benefit Blue-Throated Macaw Preservation

The World Parrot Trust and Chris Maynard of Featherfolio are teaming up for an one-of-a-kind fundraiser that will help blue-throated macaws in Bolivia.

Natalie Voss

Chris Maynard's artwork features feathers that are trimmed and cut with incredible detail.

The feather, with its delicate wisps of fluff and vibrant colors, has always been an object of fascination for Chris Maynard since a boyhood trip to the zoo to meet the flamingos. Years later, Maynard is still admiring the objects’ form and function in his artwork at Featherfolio, and he has found a way to turn that admiration into a helping hand for wild birds.

Beginning October 11, 2014 the public will have the chance to bid on artwork from Maynard’s Featherfolio to benefit the conservation of the blue-throated macaw in Bolivia. The auction is organized through the World Parrot Trust, which has worked in 42 countries to help conserve the world’s 350 species of parrots. Close to 100 of those species are endangered in the wild.

The auction includes two original shadow boxes and several photographic prints of Maynard’s previous pieces.

"We’ve tried to structure the auction with the original pieces and the photographic prints, both limited and open edition prints, so everybody has an opportunity to participate and enjoy that artwork,” said Steve Milpacher, director of operations at the World Parrot Trust. "We’re not only focusing on the top end [pricewise], we’re trying to do something for everybody.”

The feathers used in Maynard’s artwork have been collected from birds in captivity after the natural molting process. Although the feathers were collected legally, the customs process is quite complex for animal products leaving the United States, so bidding on the original pieces will be open to American buyers only. The prints are available for bid by anyone.

Not all of Chris Maynard's work features macaw feathers. Some feature cockatoos, as well.

The original pieces in the auction feature feathers cut into the shape of the birds who shed them, often depicting a flock of birds in flight. Maynard mounts the shapes on a paper backing, lending a third dimension to the work. Appropriately, most of the prints and originals in the auction include macaw feathers, but several also entail cockatoos. The macaw feathers are not from the blue-throated macaw, but instead from the closely-related blue-and-gold macaw.

These art pieces showcase Maynard’s fascination with feathers. "About 10 years ago I started photographing them, and I wanted to get my photographs out there to people so they could appreciate these amazing structures,” he said. "I want to get my work out there so people can see these amazing structures, the feathers, so they can stop for a moment in their busy lives and be awed by something that’s natural.”

Maynard’s photographs transitioned into shadowboxes showcasing tiny, intricately-cut shapes from the feather fibers, trimmed with the help of magnifying glasses and eye surgery scissors. After a lifetime of creating artwork with feathers, Maynard began showing his work just four years ago, and gained attention from art collectors almost immediately.

A portion of the proceeds from the Maynard and the World Parrot Trust’s auction will go to blue-throated macaw conservation, a bird which fallen on especially hard times. It’s estimated that there are only 110 to 130 known individuals left in northern Bolivia, putting the species at "critically endangered” status, even though its population was thought to be five to ten times larger just 30 years ago.

The species have suffered the same one-two punch as others in recent years — a combination of habitat destruction and birds being captured for the pet trade. Predators and parasites have also halted population growth in the nest.

Parrot Auction Art
The World Parrot Trust has worked to aid in population growth by providing artificial nest boxes and organizing a captive breeding program for birds in Bolivia, as well as funding research into the birds’ habitat and activity.

Preservation of wild species like the blue-throated macaw is about more than just a sense of duty to nature, according to Milpacher — the distinctive look and vibrant colors of parrots make them a billboard for conservation at large.

"Parrots are generally a very charismatic species,” Milpacher said. "We can use their charisma to heighten awareness of what’s going on in that habitat. When we save that particular species of parrot, we’re also saving their habitat and all of the other animals that live in that same area.”

For more information about the auction, head over to the World Parrot Trust website

Previous: New Study: Parrots Can Have "Bromances,” Too

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Posted: September 22, 2014, 12:00 p.m. PDT

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Upcoming Art Auction To Benefit Blue-Throated Macaw Preservation

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beautiful, such creativity!
stephanie, north smithfield, RI
Posted: 9/23/2014 4:27:32 PM
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