Tag Archives: art

Plumage Project

The Making of an Upcycled Owl

Art is silent but powerful, just like an owl’s wings. To kick off Blue Hills Trailside Museum’s very first Owl Festival, which took place on October 13-14, art, imagination, and creativity were combined with science and conservation to create the Plumage Project. The idea for this project was developed by part-time Teacher Naturalist Karin Sanborn, who is an artist among several other avocations.

Plumage Project

Plumage Project

Before the event, a call went out for “feathers” created from found materials. An activity station was set up in the museum so visitors could easily participate. One of the focal points for this project was conservation, so raw materials were pulled out of recycling bins. Old cereal boxes and construction paper scraps were “upcycled” and converted into art.

Art Meets Science

Another focal point of the project was science education. Visitors to the museum used feather templates, labeled with names like “primary feather” or “covert feather.” Posters and other visual displays helped visitors explore feathers: the huge variety of shapes, sizes, textures, structures, and functions.

Each feather on a bird’s body is like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, with a unique shape that will fit no other place on the bird’s body. And each feather has a specific function, which can range from flight to protecting a bird’s eyes from sun and dust. Hundreds of feathers were either created at the museum or dropped off by visitors.

Trailside’s Kathleen Regan provided the sweat needed to complete the assembly of the final product, a larger than life sized representation of a Great Horned Owl. We plan on running future cooperative art projects like this one, combining art, science, and conservation with the goal of helping people connect to nature.

— Perry Ellis, Blue Hills Trailside Museum Teacher Naturalist

Noah’s Art

If you visit the Museum of American Bird Art (MABA) in Canton, you can see works by Andy Warhol, Barry Van Dusen, Frank Benson, John James Audubon, and Noah, age 8. Noah, who lives in Holliston, is one of the many young artists from around the country who has participated in MABA’s Taking Flight: Juried Youth Bird Art Exhibition.

For the past 2 years, the museum has put out a call to children ages 4-18 to submit their drawings and paintings of birds. Of the submissions, 28 are chosen for the exhibition, the opening of which includes a chance to meet renowned bird artists such as David Sibley (2016) and Barry Van Dusen (2017).

For Noah, Taking Flight was an opportunity to combine two passions and learn along the way. “I love animals and I love drawing. So I love drawing animals!” he said, noting that he likes drawing birds “because they show us just how beautiful our world is and how important it is that we make nature conservation a priority.”

His piece Tweety Birds, Tweety Birds What Do You See? I See Beautiful Colors All Around Me, was selected for the 2017 exhibition and is now on view at MABA. This is something Noah is especially proud of—a feeling he wishes everyone can experience.

“I hope anyone who likes to draw takes the opportunity to enter!” Noah said. And now’s your chance. The 2018 exhibition is accepting entries through June 15, 2018.

Tweety Birds, Tweety Birds What Do You See? I See Beautiful Colors All Around Me by Noah Chen

We’ll be featuring more young artists on MABA’s blog, so be sure to subscribe!