Back to Grass Roots after the Xmas break and straight into getting the Big abirdabode standing. Whilst abirdabode had been away work had proceeded apace and the reclaimed timber sides required very little work to complete- merely making sure all the screws were in the right place and not sticking out (well spotted Kelly!) and a quick trim to cut the sides flush; some great sychronised sawing from Mason and Paddy!
The other sides of the box were also nearly complete, the wood rounds looking really beautiful with Nathan taking charge of the fiddly task of filling all the gaps with tiny rounds cut from twigs (rather him then me!) and the mosaic side being managed by Kenny and his nimble gluing fingers.
Darren also return to help and working with Neil, Mark and new member Joseph we soon had the roof sides completed, reinforced and the great news was; they fitted first time.
Just before lunch on friday we got the Grass Roots big abirdabode standing and it looks great! It’s big enough for three people to fit inside as long as they’re not as tall as Mark!
Holly’s Art Birdbox will take the form of a fantasy castle guarded by a fearsome dragon carved in low relief.
My birdbox design is inspired by my love of reptiles, which leads to dragons, causing my design. My initial plan was to have a generic-looking birdbox with a dragon curled around it, as if it was trying to get inside, I upgraded this to a Castle to fit with a stereotypical dragon theme and worked from there.
I started by making my maquette, which is slightly different to my final design, which has dividers to make the inner area smaller so it would be easier to warm up and take less materials to pad out.
an art bird box studio
we need a bigger table
scroll saw skills
The last Grassroots session before Xmas and everyone was in a festive mood and before heading out to the poly tunnel to continue making there was just time to try on a policeman’s hat to see who it suited best?
Hat hijinks finished the group swiftly divided into teams. Kenny, Nathan, Paddy, Mason and Loz set to work with Jacqui and Andy adding more reclaimed timber cladding to two of the bird box sides, By the end of the morning they were looking great with a variety of colours and textures making a really striking finish. Neil, Nathan and Kelly worked especially hard with the complicated task of building the curved roof from old floor boards, the measuring ad cutting involved a bit of a guess so we hope it fits better than the policewoman’s hat!
abirdabode’s second week at Grassroots and the group worked hard to get the big abirdabode standing. Neil, Kelly, Nathan and Kenny built up the last two side frames and covered them in exterior ply whilst Mason and Paddy set to work ‘carefully’ dismantling some old wooden doors. By the time the ‘destruction duo’, working with hammer, crow bar and great gusto had converted the doors into a pile of useable pieces the rest of the group had the bird box sides ready to assemble. Working in pairs the group drilled pilot holes and bolted the box together using long bolts, an impact driver and a handful of t-nuts, NOT as Neil hoped peanuts!
The next day’s job was to take the pile of dismantled doors and sort the pieces into colours and start cladding the bird box wall with them in a decorative manner. Darren proved a dab hand at drilling and screwing the pieces in place, whilst Mark worked with Darian and Ben on the complex task of cutting curved eaves for the bird box roof. Kenny, disguised as a Russian, helped both teams complete their tasks.
By the end of the day the Big abirdabode was standing and of course we had to test how many of us could fit in it!
From Russia with gloves
to me, to you
Darrens drills it
Neil nails it
Kenny and Andy do the drill
Nathan and Kelly team up
We all fit!
Bronagh’s Bird Box
My bird box is of Jack Skellington and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I chose this because I love the film as it interests me because it is very unusual the animation is unique. Also every Christmas Eve I watch it before I go to sleep. I am also a fan of the creator, Tim Burton.
First things first I made my maquette which was completely different to my practical work ; this was because you could not bend the wood as my bird box is circular.
This is one of the more complex art bird boxes to construct as it is spherical in shape. Building it involved calculating the sizes of a series of circular layers required to build up the contours of the head using measurements taken from the maquette. The head required ten discs of 18mm plywood each cut to a specific size. Using the band-saw and a trammel jig cutting ten discs didn’t take too long.
The layers were then laminated with waterproof PVA glue in two sections so the inside Jack’s head will be accessible for cleaning! Once the glue had dried Richard turned the pile of discs into a rough sphere shape using the lathe and sander.
ready to turn
layers and layers
We’re pleased to announce that Grassroots Community Allotment in Failsworth will be joining the abirdabode project in the next few weeks.
Grassroots is an amazing venue with allotments, an orchard, chickens and bees. Situated right next to the Rochdale Canal it offers a number of habitats for birds and wildlife that we can explore for inspiration.
We’re hoping some of the Grassroots members who took part in the Catalyst Junk Sculpture project a few years ago will get involved again along with some brand new participants. We can’t wait to see what they create!
On Saturday abirdabode braved the slightly inclement weather conditions to set up the Big Art Birdbox at Oldham Flower Festival.
The day started of with quite a bit of rain and we were worried that no–one would venture out after the amazing sunshine of the previous week; this combined with the insane thunder and lightning that seems to have woken everyone in the middle of the night on Friday made us doubt we would be busy. How wrong we were!
Oldhamers are not afraid of a little bit of rain and the day was brilliant. Participants of all ages joined us throughout the day, including some who had decorated a bird at Festival Oldham. They created some amazing decorated art birds for the front of the Big Art Birdbox, including the most realistic woodpecker so far, some amazingly coloured and patterned pigeons and a beautiful stripey bullfinch. We also had a celebrity guest make a decorated bird; Joe Swift created an aboriginal art inspired version of his namesake, the Swift.
Thank you for everyone who joined us and chatted to us and decorated a bird – it was a great day and we hope the herbs you planted with Get Oldham Growing team are flourishing!
Robin at the base
Almost at the top
What’s in there?
We made these
I did this
82 decorated birds!
Checking it’s correct
What’s the point?
I can draw with my eyes closed too
Mark in prime position
What a woodpecker
The first abirdabode creative engagement drop-in took place at Festival Oldham’s Rooted Festival on Saturday
We were located in the Gallery Oldham Gardens next to the RSPB gazebo and the big abirdabode looked great against the greenery. It now housed a mini art gallery of three art bird boxes enhanced by bird song emitting from within.
For the festival we invited visitors to use paint pens to decorate the wooden bird silhouettes to enhance the front of the big abirdabode and despite the rather damp weather conditions lots of visitors got involved.
Inspired by bird recognition sheets, birds they had seen in their gardens, the art birdboxes and their amazing imaginations by the end of the day we had a multitude of birds decorating the outside of the big abirdabode. Fantastic plumage on display included beautiful patterns, abstract scribbles, detailed realistic representations and even a 1D bird all in colours and variations as amazing and attractive as the real birds that inspired us.
abig abirdabode decorated
Investigating abig abirdabode
We made these
Mahdlo Brownies at abirdabode
Painted in the rain
Abirdabode is an art project and an environmental project under one roof
During 2014 and 2015, we will be running a series of workshops and creative activities exploring urban and rural habitats, trying different art forms and making beautiful art bird boxes for our feathered friends in Oldham.
There are lots of opportunities to get involved: drop-in sessions decorating human scale bird boxes, group activities designing and building bird boxes, environmental visits exploring local habitats and green spaces.
The Abirdabode Project will culminate in an amazing exhibition at Gallery Oldham of the work created, following which the bird boxes will be released into the wild to decorate, amaze and provide homes and safe nest sites for our local birds.
If you or a group you are part of would like to get involved, contact Richard or Jacqui at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can ring them – Jacqui on 07801 837281 or Richard on 07932 050926.