Melissa Boardman creates her brand of art, patterns and stationery under the name Bird Plus Bird. Melissa's illustrations and patterns focus mainly on the native birdlife of New Zealand, which she finds endlessly inspiring. Most of Melissa's illustrations are in gouache, her medium of choice for it's versatility of being either entirely opaque or painterly and especially for it's matte appearance.
Melissa loves nothing more than being amongst the bird-life in nature in her home country of New Zealand. She spends as much time as possible at wildlife sanctuaries and local birding hot spots, observing birds and studying their behaviour in order to be able to convey their characteristics through her art. Melissa uses only her own real life encounters and photographs as reference for her artwork.
Melissa works from her home-studio where she reaps the benefits of living close to a wildlife sanctuary, her home is frequented by native birds which provide her with an abundance of inspiration.
New Zealand's unique birds
Many NZ native birds have populations only in the hundreds, and sadly very few are plentiful. The most well-known birds have become iconic, and although Melissa embraces the popularity of such birds, she chooses not to overlook the rarer birds, that may not necessarily be cute or friendly, but are special and unique in their own way.
It is important to know that you won't find many native birds floating around neighbourhood gardens, or even throughout the majority of mainland New Zealand. Most only manage to survive within the safety predator controlled areas, in fenced sanctuaries and on offshore islands. Deforestation and introduced predators such as Possums, Rats and Stoats are making survival extremely tough for the native wildlife of New Zealand, so predator proof sanctuaries are a haven for birds to live and help re-establish populations of our most vulnerable birds.
Most New Zealanders don't know much about our most rare birds, and Melissa's aim is to raise a little bit of awareness of the lesser known birds by sharing her art, photographs and information about them on social media.
All Bird Plus Bird goods are hand made using the most eco-friendly materials and processes available.
Only recycled paper is used in stationery (except in fine art prints, where the paper is as eco-friendly as possible, while also being archival) Only recycled and recyclable materials are used in packaging (no plastic) and if extra protection is needed, plant based cellophane-like sleeves are used.