Turkey feathers … and other thoughts

John Lawrence’s message from Nov. 19, 2018

Some people see turkey feathers and imagine Thanksgiving dinner. However, Abby Steen sees turkey feathers and imagines art. The Iowa State student and former Plymouth County 4-H’er decided to try this new medium, and her efforts netted her a blue ribbon and Outstanding Junior Award at the 2018 Iowa State Fair. Her three art pieces feature turkeys, pheasants and an elk painted on turkey feathers, and are now on display in my office in Beardshear Hall. Did you know?

  • Abby had been inspired by the painted turkey feathers of artist Chancy Walters, whom she met at the Iowa Deer Classic. She got his permission and encouragement to try her hand at his type of painting.
  • Once you see the fine detail of her turkey feather painting, you won’t be at all surprised that she’s majoring in biological/pre-medical illustration here at Iowa State.
  • As a Grant Clever Clover, Abby completed many static projects and also showed chickens, goats and Holstein calves. 4-H offered her many opportunities to try something new – such as this turkey feather project – and that’s important to her. She says she always wants to keep pushing herself to try new things and to take what she learns and use it in other work.

Abby is only one example of the many young Iowans who are empowered to reach their full potential through our 4-H Youth Development program. Next time you’re on campus, be sure to stop by 2150 Beardshear to see Abby’s turkey feather art. You may be inspired to try something new.

More notes

  • Review the new State of Iowa 4-H Data for Decision Makers for updates on 4-H related trends. The report covers 2017-2018.
  • The next “Creating Accessible Digital Documents” workshop is Nov. 29 in the Extension 4-H Building on campus in Ames. Registration is open.
  • Whether or not turkey is on your menu this Thursday, have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

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