Providing Opportunities for Creative Expression

My brother York, a gifted artist and copper craftsman, was fighting a battle with cancer in 2006. As the sister and artist/illustrator in my own right, I was grappling with a sense of uselessness, an inability to do something meaningful to support him. As I sat with York, I asked a simple, quiet question – “how can I be of service to my brother during his illness?”

What came was an inspiration, a command, to pick up a Sharpie pen.

I don’t draw people, but what came were these characters with things to say. I drew as commanded and then raced to my home studio and started water-coloring these first starts. I drew every morning and water-colored late into the night. Some days the characters flew out at forty an hour. This kind of creative madness stayed at peak for four months. When I finally stopped, we counted - there were 2,483 of them.

This creative process didn’t just produce characters; the bond we shared deepened as these characters expressed their words of hope, of inspiration, and of love. York and I chose to call them "Birds of a Feather", because together, we were birds of a feather - siblings, artists, friends. After York’s passing in 2007, I realized the Birds wanted to continue to express and share in other ways. Over the years, the Birds have been the voice in my book, Create the Space You Deserve, embellished seminar materials for major corporations, and graced consumer products available here in our website boutique.

YorkButler logoTo celebrate York and the bond created through Birds of a Feather, I established the York Butler Fund at the Community Foundation. As York was a copper craftsman and artist, the York Butler Fund will enhance creative expression of all mediums; craftsmen, artists, writers, designers, musicians, and dancers for education, performance, and unique local project opportunities.

For every JillsBirds’nWords® product, trading card or usage fee collected, a portion is set aside for the Fund. For every dollar contributed, please know that you are contributing to a greater cause in a very direct and personal way in support of those in the Creative Arts.