London-based artist Rebecca Jewell creates beautiful pieces that combine her interests in anthropology, natural history, and art. Her extensive work in Papua New Guinea and then as an artist-in-residence at the British Museum have provided great influences for her many unique works, including watercolors, detailed drawings, charcoals, and printmaking.
Inspired by the many collections of the museum, particularly historical 18th- and 19th-century bird artists, Jewell works to reinterpret them with her own creative touch. The skilled printmaker transfers the antique drawings directly onto bird feathers. She finds that the barbs of the feathers create interesting lines and textures and the “images emerged with the quality of a historic engraving.”
Jewell sources her feathers from a variety of places including goose farms and swanneries. She spends a lot of time sorting through piles of feathers to perfectly match shapes of bird images with corresponding feathers. Once printed, she presents the work both as single bird feathers as well as in elegant and captivating arrangements.
The artist says, “I’m making work to raise awareness about issues of conservation, endangered birds, and extinction. I hope to continue to make work which contributes to the conservation of wildlife.”