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
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
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
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.
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