Chris Maynard works with delicate and precise eye surgery tools to carves intricate art out of naturally shed feathers, which are then framed and presented in high quality lacquered shadow-box frames. 

Artist Statement

I carve feathers into intricate art by cutting them into detailed shapes and arranging the cutouts into scenes that celebrate the life and flight of birds and the meaning that birds and flight have for us.

Feathers appear fragile but they are made of keratin—the same material that forms our fingernails. They need to be tough, considering the work they do: Feathers keep a bird clothed, sheltered, and in flight for a full year before they are shed. 

Once a feather has finished its life as part of a bird, I believe it still has much to offer. The essence of a bird is inherent in each of its feathers. In carving and arranging a feather into a thought-provoking scene, I use an individual feather’s unique qualities in order to celebrate the bird that gave us the feather. 

I consider a feather’s patterns, shapes, and sometimes its colors when I’m creating a new work of art. The subjects of my work are drawn from my own experiences as a naturalist and artist, observing and thinking about wildlife. Developing this new art form was the path to combine the scientific knowledge of birds that I gained during my career with my lifelong fascination with and love for the natural world. 

Conservation is inherent in my life as well as my art, so I use only feathers that are legal to have and to sell. I do not alter feather colors in any way. Because of this, my color palette is limited, which challenges me as an artist to allow a feather’s form to guide my work. I mount the feather cutouts using stainless entomology pins so their curves and shapes are set in relief against the backdrop. This allows me to incorporate shadows—which change depending on the intensity, quality, and direction of light. My art has been received with appreciation and enthusiasm by many people from many walks of life. I’m honored to be able to help foster appreciation and understanding of the natural world through something as simple and wonderful as feathers. 

Chris Maynard


Birds were always a part of Chris Maynard’s childhood. As a young person, he took refuge in the woods around his home in Washington State where, his head nestled in moss, he watched the birds up in the tall trees. He began working with feathers at age 12.

Today, Maynard carves feathers into intricate art to make their natural beauty more noticeable. His work highlights the patterns and colors of the feathers themselves, inviting the viewer to look and look again. For him, feathers represent flight, transformation, and a bridge between our present lives and our dreams. 

He displays his work in shadow boxes, a signature art form he developed that enchants people around the world. 

Maynard works with feathers from turkeys, parrots, peacocks, and other birds and crafts them into scenes that are displayed in his world-renowned shadow boxes. A conservationist at heart, Maynard’s feathers are legally obtained. Many of the feathers are naturally shed which means that the birds they came from may still be alive today. 

Since feathers are universal symbols of flight, transformation, achievement, and hope, Maynard’s art speaks to many people who long for these qualities as well as people who revere birds. 

Maynard’s work is included in private collections and featured in publications in North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia. His 2014 book, Feathers, Form & Function, highlights his work and tells stories about what feathers are, what roles they fill for birds, and why people find them alluring. 

Chris is represented by ArtXContemporary