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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Maharishi's Cook

Photo: MIU

In the early 70s through a series of strokes of luck and fate I became the head preparer and then the chef in Maharishi's main kitchen in La Antilla, Spain, where MIU was then training teachers of TM. We catered to many vegetarians, but fish and poultry were also available because back then it was not common really to totally veg out, even among a thousand meditators. There were about twenty individuals with compromised digestive systems. Cooking for them was more challenging and I served them Vegan/vegetarian fare exclusively and they flourished. By the end of the course I could see weight gain and better health among 100% of them. The fish and poultry needed to feed the other nine hundred diners declined every week as they discovered the vegetarian entrees like spinach pie and chili, eggplant parm and other delights I knew how to concoct for them. Given a choice, I learned diners would naturally gravitate to the veggie side of the menu as long as ample substitutes were delicious and available choices. I was always mindful of a brilliant cookbook published a thousand years ago by Frances Lappe DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET which discussed proper protein portions in detail and helped me to balance the veggie choices correctly. If you don't tell them what they're eating is vegetarian, they often won't even recognize it. And told later, people are frequently surprised and delighted when they find out. Living with the neighbors' pigs running wild, I've grown to admire that species. They're intelligent, sweet creatures as are so many of the animals humans eat. I think it's their very docile natures that make them so easy to harvest for food. All humans are omnivorous by nature but so many actually thrive, lose unwanted weight, and get just as much happiness in life when they leave blood foods behind.

Before that I had worked and lived in the Organic Morning Glory Message commune and magazine where I was exposed to considerable information about conservation and wholesome food. In my boyhood home of Alaska, we learned about the firestorms of weather coming early in the new millennium if we did not cure our ways. The scientific knowledge was not exactly suppressed. It was undermined with wave after wave of disinformation and propaganda that was friendly to industrial interests and developers.

I am not exactly innocent. I thrived myself in a commercial world built on the pulp of forests.

Saving feathers, the molted feathers of my birds and those of my friends and their friends, may not seem like a highly noteworthy pastime. But when you think of the millions of proud feathered creatures that have been slaughtered for their feathers for fashion, it gives pause. Consider a parrot. A good friend runs a parrot rescue. When people acquire them they seldom wonder what they’ll do when they get old. Parrots will frequently outlive their hosts, sometimes living to fifty or more. I want to contribute to my friend’s rescue, feed, money and other resources, and to other worthy organizations as well.

In the first attempt to conserve and sell feathered art, we learned how difficult it is to make, display, store and sell artifacts. There had to be a better way. Then it hit me. Slowly at first I had the dawning realization I could use feathers in my art. I tried scanning them. But a better method turned out to be photography. It all came together because I was in college studying graphic design and art at the same time. We called the first ones in shadow boxes “feather paintings” so when I started painting digitally with the photographs of feathers, there had to be a new name.

My work is informed and inspired by the funerary art you see from ancient Egypt. They “layered” feathers side by side either in paint or if the tomb was for an important person, they would use semi -precious stone and literally make jeweled artifacts they called “rishi”. So I decided to name my process feather rishi.

The first incentive to make art with molted feathers came in the form of food. The donated feathers made into art could earn extra money. Now it is a much bigger concept. By creating a massive feather library and eventual museum of the digital images of feathers, there will now be less demand for the feathers themselves. The need will be met with digital licenses.

Christmas 2013 and I feel very grateful. I had a 4.0 fall semester and the college has nominated me to represent them in a national scholarship event. Even if I receive it, I will still have a financial shortfall and have unmet challenges. Yet not everyone is so fortunate. I try to help when I can.

Please say YES to feather rishi. If more boutiques say they like my designs and would consider carrying them I might receive the grant I need to start up my scarf boutique business.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope this Christmas is a splendid one for you, your family and friends. Try to think of birds with the same affection you have for dogs and cats. They never disappoint with their moods or company. Birds are bright, sing frequently and they grace us with their molted plumes. Let's join together and protect their feathers in a database making it possible for everyone to access to their magic colors and textures.
Copyright 2013 Lewis Mark Grimes

Saturday, November 30, 2013

FASHION: Miracle of the Internet

I am a new artist, testing the waters, learning the ropes, as I fumble my way in pursuit of commerce, funding and artistic acceptance. I feel like a baby chick just cracking my shell, pipping and peeping and peering out into the wide, brightly lit world from my safe enclosure. I've spent a year searching for opportunities before I decided to start my own online stores.

I have several new stores, open less than a month. You can purchase my first macro view fabrics on You can buy notions and postage on You can get feather rishi posters and framed prints from Fine Art America.

But, perhaps the shop of which I'm most proud is The Feathered Om. This store broke the barrier for me as I moved into iconography and made three different renditions of the magnificent Om symbol. This morning I learned far away from my home, a person in Marseilles is waiting for her fleece hoodie.It was a thrill for me to have a client in France who recognized and affirmed my art.

I'm proud of each store for many different reasons. They show a range of ideas and imagination as they exhibit the versatility of feather rishi, a new arrival on the playing field of paint, texture, color and fashion. When my professors saw the technique showing up in my design classes, they encouraged me to get out and look for opportunities. I'm still in school, so this is a rare instance. I went to school to learn something new I could do and it turned out, I actually could do something new.

Copyright 2013 Lewis Mark Grimes

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for what my doctors have done for me this year. It was a year with dramatic medicine and yet I am back at exercise. Mostly I swim at a public pool. Well maintained and consistent, the pool and I are trying to age as gracefully as possible. I couldn't ask for more energy. Rising early and retiring late, nothing pleases me more than having a new feather rishi to show you.
Turkey feathers used in my work are recycled. The picture above is peacock and golden pheasant hen. They are also the molted feathers of companion birds. Game birds are wonderful pets and I've even enjoyed them living outside of pens in the yard. Unfortunately it does not take the hawks long to discover a smorgasbord like that so you find out how to keep them safe. They would not live long in the wild, with rare exceptions. In aviaries game birds have been known to live for decades.
I'm into yoga and meditation. It took me a couple years to get up the courage to make my own Om symbols. I've made three of them.

There is so much I am thankful for that starting a new year will be exciting. 2014! I am impressed. I hope you will share feather rishi with your friends. Feathers! It's all feather art.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Starring Feathers, The Girl's True Best Friend

Pictured below is Senorita, a tribute to Spanish fashion but with my own twist. Everything seen is composed of feathers, right down to the border and background.

That is not just "feathers" but macro-photography of the molted feathers of my companion birds. The green basis of my technique is described in this blog and elsewhere.

My business plan for a start-up feather rishi art venture is growing. Growing in length and words that hopefully will support my ideas for populating the surfaces of the planet with feather images. The colors and patterns they offer are exquisite and, when compared with paint for instance as a surface coloring agent, they are more, so much more. I am finding new uses for them all the time.

Recently I placed a new collection of fat quarters on They are bold, macro-prints of single feathers. The glimpse they afford into the splendors of individual feathers is compelling and unique.  I am reaching out to quilters whose initial reactions have been promising.
This holiday season I have featured white peacock snowflakes in a shop named Feather Collector also on The white peafowl were special companions and their feathers will be immortalized in feather rishi. You can get them on sale! in art prints at Fine Art America. The smallest print is 10"x10" although the cards from Zazzle, a bit smaller, have also been praised by collectors. If you want, you can also get matching postage!

Please let me hear from you. Email me. I always want to hear from people interested in feather rishi. I can design to order. Soon I hope to have quilt patterns and more fabrics.

Please visit The Feathered Om

Copyright 2013 Lewis Mark Grimes

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

It Sends Me

What fun it is to hear one of my works of art has brought joy to another owner. Starting out as an artist provides a unique perspective on the world, lonely and fearful. Your mind could reel  with worry that nobody will like your work. I search for a gallery that wants to take a chance on large, one of a kind, feather rishi works.
 This work, for instance, "Amethyst Pheasant - Peacock Pheasant Rosette" started with a single feather. I played in Photoshop for many hours experimenting, stringing feather to feather to create this effect. You can buy prints on Fine Art America (dot) com.

The Lacy Wyandotte feather you see above was molted one fine summer day. At the time I only had the vision to save it in the freezer to kill any pests, to wash and carefully dry it. Years later I would photograph it with a Nikon D80 and  Nikkor macro lens.

I also used single feathers to make postage.
0101White Peacock Back Postage
0101White Peacock Back Postage by LewisMarkGrimes
Browse Collector Stamps online
Introduced in $.46 denominations, please choose from up to 24 different plumes and a dozen different prices including priority mail. I work exhaustively with the chosen feather in Photoshop. Each feather is art. Where would you find a more beautiful picture of your favorite pheasant, peafowl or rare feathers?
Thank you for reading this blog
(c) 2013 Lewis Mark Grimes 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Posters and Prints on Fine Art America

Feather Rishi Art Prints

Finding the right place to display your artwork takes diligence and a lot of trust. I took more than a year examining portfolio web sites before feather rishi and I nominated Fine Art America dot com to hold a portfolio to sell for me. How exciting was it to find a site that could do so much. Of course they will make something on each sale from their site, that's to be expected.

I know it's boring but on the technical side it was hard to conform my art to Fine Art America's site. They limit the size of file you can upload and typically my native files are between 20 and 100 times larger. Does that mean the quality suffers a little? Well yes, but you may not even be able to see the difference.

Do you actually sell off these types of sites? Yes. But each sale I make has a history of my personal leg work building relations with buyers. People don't want to buy art in a vaccuum, they want to know you. I'm working on that.

As a college student, it's hard to find time to social network but more and more it's becoming necessary and I welcome the interaction with clients for my art.

I have several favorites I would like to share with you:


White Peacock

Monday, February 18, 2013

Its All Feather Art!


More than ten years ago, my partner and I started making art with feathers. We called it "feather painting", but the technique was tedious and the artworks were difficult to conserve. We created a pseudonym for the artist because there were two of us.

When I got to school in '08 and started studying graphic design, I saw that digital feather rishi was a great way to save the feathers and use them to create art.

The feathers are always molted and gathered from companion birds. That's why the process is green.

As a new artist who is still in school, I have the best of both worlds. There are scholarships and grants to nurture me. People help me with everything and I am grateful for the opportunity to become an artist.

Copyright 2013 Lewis Mark Grimes

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Egg Man

"Feather Chart"

Am I the Egg Man?

As a child, I found eggs interesting. Break them and inside you find a white smudge of imperfection. Funny how you later discover that to be the key to most life. Easter eggs were curious traditions to me, but Fun. I loved making and hiding them. For all eggs' perfect form and density they are one of the stunning creations of a God who is an artist or perhaps one of evolution's greatest gifts.

Inside potential is how we start in life. It takes a long time for the formation and the destruction of the outside as we evolve through life's changes. The inside potential of an egg is awesome. The human egg contains half the miraculous stuff and explodes with possibilities when inseminated.

A reptile's or a bird's egg is also filled with potential. So close in form, shape and sometimes even appearance, these evolutionary cousins yield such different results. Take the egg of a bird. Nearly every one of them contains the genetic material to make feathers. Divinely inspired they come in every color, shape and texture. Unique among animals, birds are the carriers of this fine frock. Like snowflakes, no two feathers are exactly alike.

Discovering feathers for my art took a third party to intervene. I had the feather collection going. I would gather the molted feathers from my companion birds already. I tried photographing them. Not an easy task, I was fortunately in college studying photography and graphic design. Class projects require supplies so I turned to my feather collection. It took a couple years to find my style but when I did my professors said I was ready.

Now, I put feathers on everything. I have the bug. You're going to see plates, dishes, picture frames, puzzles, stationary, art posters and canvasses, apparel (like the scarf above) or even silliness like the pumpkin below.

I may not be the egg man, but I'm definitely the feather man.

Copyright 2013 Lewis Mark Grimes