Helen joined the abirdabode project very late in the day but proved up to the challenge of making an art bird box. With a little help from Dylan (superstar assistant) Helen spent her first every DSYR session making a diamond bird box from a kit of pre cut parts (the same pattern used with the Barrier breakers group). Having mastered power tools she returned for her second session armed with a very detailed drawing of a beautiful summer meadow design bursting with bright colours.
Helen’s bird box is certainly the brightest and sunniest and the detail and colours are quite something to see.
Helen ready to paint
It’s nest box decoration time for the Dove Stone Youth Rangers and to make life easier all round we’re running the next few creative sessions at Woodend Mill (it saves moving the Art Birdboxes whilst the paint is still wet and gives the DSYR a chance to observe artists in their natural habitat!)
The DSYR arrived at Woodend Mill on a wet sunday and proceeded take over Jacqui’s new print making studio which had been temporarily transformed into a painting studio for the day. Once the distraction of playing with the abirdabode mascots (Percy and Mugly) the group dived into the paint and with Jacqui’s help mixed individual colours following a set of paint swatches. Once a base coat was applied to each Art Birdbox a quick tour of Richard’s and Jacqui’s studios took place whilst the paint dried.
Everyone was amazed by the creative layout (or mess) that is Richard’s ‘man cave’ (thank you Zak!) and were fascinated by all the different media, materials, equipment and completed and in progress artworks strewn around the studios. As it was very cold in the mill we swiftly returned to Jacqui’s print studio and continued painting until parents arrived to collect everyone (the parents were also amazed by the studios and had a chance to play with Percy and Mugly).
Same time, same place next week then!
In the man cave
Lily in red
Holly ready to paint
Bronagh ready to paint
Georgia ready to paint
Eve ready to paint
Helen ready to paint
Jake ready to paint
Look behind you!
Why use gloves?
Zak ready to paint
Lily ready to paint
Cat in the hatitude
Tori ready to paint
Lily’s Iron Man Nest Box is probably the most complicated in terms of shape and construction due to the number of parts required; one body, one head, two arms and two legs… But not only has it got to look like Tony Stark’s alter ego but Lily has chosen to make her nest box in the style of a Lego Iron Man.
I chose this because I think it would be a suitable size for a bird box and at the same time the design means it would be a unique shape. The colours are different and aesthetically pleasing.
The actual nest box part of Iron Man will be inside his torso (with the birds entering through the Arc Reactor of course) and this was the first and most straight forward part to be made.
Lily draw a very detailed set of plans and dimensions from her maquette and had no problem making the torso as a slightly tapered box shape. The legs were made in a similar way from thin plywood with the curved upper leg made from a piece of drain pipe. The most complex part to build was Iron Mans head but with Bronagh’s assistance to cut a number of rings for form the outer edge of Iron Man’s helmet and support some bendy ply to form Iron Man’s face the end result looked great.
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
scroll saw skills
we need a bigger table
The last making day (and last session before Christmas) for DSYR was held at Oldham Civic Centre which proved to be a tight squeeze for the group and all the equipment needed for making Art Birdboxes. The group endeavored in the small space and by the end of the session most of the bird boxes where assembled and ready for decoration which will commence after the holidays. Holly cut out her very detailed Dragon from plywood ready for sculpting low relief 3D detail as well as drilling and cutting the crenelations for the top of her castle nest box. Bronagh shared her circle cutting skills with Lily and helped her cut all the parts for her Lego Iron Man bird box’s head using the trammel jig. Izzy added some fine detail to the Disney Fire station, while T-Jay battled to cut complicated angles on the twelve sided Globe Theatre roof. Katie made some detailed windmill sails whilst Georgia took on the role of group photographer and documented all the hard work. All this and some Christmas inspired fun made for a great last making session (just don’t ask why Dylan was doing wearing that hat as we have absolutely no idea!).
architectural bird box basics
Just a spot of glue…
Hannah and her ghosts
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
The DSYR’s last day at Rock Street and the bird box making was really hotting up (despite the freezing weather outside).
Time is of the essence and the massive pile of plywood is swiftly being turned into the structures for some amazing Art Bird boxes. T-Jay discovered that his Globe Theatre Birdbox was even more complex than he’d realised and enlisted Greg’s help to glue the multitude of pieces together to form the twelve sided structure. Tori has converted her Hobbit House Art Birdbox into a communal nets box for house sparrows as they are a particularly endangered species in the UK (and so they can live in true Hobbit style as friendly neighbours). She also showed us the set of CAD plans she’d produced of the bird box!
Luckily Dylan rejoined the group this week and proved an dab hand at birdbox construction and an invaluable assistant for both Holly and Hannah. Hannah proved her bandsaw skill by showing Holly how to use the new bandsaw safely and accurately.
Georgia’s pyramid box looked amazing and just required a few gaps to be filled to ensure it’s waterproofness and Zak’s Art Deco snail took form with the assistance of Kayleigh and a spot of bendy ply wrestling.
Jake fitted his cube box together and started cutting the large number of parts required for decoration pieces.
The group are working as a great team and all in all it was a great last day at Rock Street; with another similar afternoon of hard work all the DSYR’s Art Birdboxes will be made and ready for decoration by Christmas!
All time low bird box basics
are you sure?
The Dovestone Youth Rangers’ Art Birdboxes are really taking shape following last weeks plan drawing and dimension sorting session. Working from their cardboard maquettes some of the designs needed to be adapted slightly from the to make sure they worked as Bird boxes – we followed the criteria offered by the RSPB and BTO for the entrance holes sizes and heights.
The Birdboxes are in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles as expected and all are made from a base of exterior 18mm plywood. Parts for the Birdboxes were cut from the plywood by the group using their newly acquired band-saw and scroll saw skills but some of the parts which required the use of a table saw were cut by Richard in his studio working from the scale plans ;especially those requiring compound mitres and much head scratching.
The Bird boxes now consist of a large pile of parts ready for assembly and decoration.
scroll saw details
an art bird box studio
cutting curves on the bandsaw
scroll saw skills
work cut out
pyramid bird box
The Dove Stone Youth Rangers are now getting stuck in to making their art bird boxes, following a session drawing plans and working out exactly what size the component parts should be. This was harder for some than others – the Moulin Rouge Windmill, the pyramid shaped birdbox and the Globe Theatre proved quite challenging with a lot of maths formulae and protractor action going on (and some crying but that was mainly me – I’ve always found maths hard). Katie is proving our resident maths genius though so has helped a lot of the group with their angles and trapeziums.
Some of the group have started cutting the final pieces for their bird boxes with Bronagh doing a sterling job creating lots of circular pieces for her Jack Skellington birdbox. We’ve also done some Arts Award work, thinking about the inspiration behind the birdboxes and the final surface decoration/designs.
Eve, Jake and Zac have been wielding the camera and have taken pictures of everyone with their maquette…
Saturday 8th November saw the abirdabode project join Oldham Santa’s Reindeer Parade. The theme of the parade was The 12 Days of Christmas and the abirdabode project was involved with two of the carriages; Four Calling Birds and Partridge in a Pear Tree with T-Jay and Dylan from Dove Stone Youth Rangers helping to build and perform the carriages for the parade.