Iron Man saves the birds

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.

Trinity Terrace gets colourful

A very snowy Wednesday morning and we returned to Trinity House to continue making some house shaped abirdabodes. Although a couple of the group couldn’t make it in due to the snow Edna, Brian, Joyce and Eleanor were keen to get going.

From the drawings we’d made the week before the plan was to make a set of house shaped nest boxes to reflect the houses and mills of Oldham.

Work commenced with mixing some background colours for each house, a series of red, browns and oranges that were applied with dabbing brushes to give a bit of texture. For added interest colours were mixed directly onto the boxes or different tones applied to different sides of the nest boxes. Once the base coat was dry it was time to add some detail. Painting individual bricks by hand was a daunting task so we’d prepared a set of brick pattern stencils to use. We tested one on a scrap of paper and they worked brilliantly. Everyone was amazed with how real the brick and stone work effect was, especially Edna who could hardly wait to add dark red bricks to every side of her nest box even before the base coat was fully dried.

Our first layer of detail added it was time to dash off before the snow got too heavy. Before we left we made a plan for the next layer of details to add to the boxes; chimneys, windows with curtains, a pink front door, trees, gutters and possibly a wheelie bin… All in all Trinity Terrace is going to look great for the abirdabode show and we hope the birds appreciate all the hard work!

 

 

Getting the Grass Roots nest box standing

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!

 

 

 

Barrier Breakers Build Brilliant Bird Boxes.

The New Year kicked off with a bang for abirdabode as Barrier Breakers joined the project. Barriers Breakers is a forum and support group for young people with additional needs and disabilities that meets on Monday evenings at Oldham Civic Centre as part of Oldham Youth Council.

With Barrier Breakers we wanted to maintain the abirdabode ethos of being as hands on as possible with the making of the nest boxes. As we knew this would be a challenge for some of the group, we ran a quick intro and training session for the support workers first. We covered how the bird boxes would be made from the kit of parts, how to use the drills and tool kit and general safety. Using the drills was a new experience for the team and there were a few worried expressions and some trepidation as to whether the young people were going to be able to manage. Jacqui and I were determined that the session would be as hands on as possible and, with Greg Cookson’s support and belief in what we were doing, the team agreed to go for it just as the young people arrived.

The Barrier Breakers members had been working on designs for their bird boxes over the past few weeks and had prepared a presentation. Their ideas are varied and exciting and will produce some amazing art birdboxes, which will include a Lewis Hamiliton F1 inspired nest box, a Giving Nature A Home nest box with butterfly and flower decoration and nest boxes featuring dinosaurs, lions and Rugby teams amongst others…

Following the presentation each participant chose which design their box would be; a traditional rectangular box or a more contemporary diamond design. Then the making began…

The group members exceeded our expectations with what they achieved, every single member of the group managed to drill pilot holes in the timber sections of the boxes and then proceeded to screw them together! A few of the group were nervous of using the drills at first but with careful encouragement and familiarising them with the tool kit step by step they overcame their concerns and by the end of the session were using the drills with great gusto and huge smiles.

Michael, Brandon, Nathan, (Hi-) Lee and Mubaarak proved absolute stars assisting other group members with the construction of their bird boxes and their confidence, patience and skills were fantastic.

Despite some questions over which practical creative activities would work for the group our initial session proved what they can achieve and the bird boxes will genuinely be their own work and will be something to be truly proud of.

At the end of the session one of the youth workers admitted she’d been worried all day about the activity but was amazed and actually close to tears over how well the group had done and how much they had got out of it…

Michael made a brilliant comment that despite doing some woodwork at school he’d learnt more in the last 2 hours than during 5 years at school! This alongside the looks of amazement on parent’s faces when they arrived at the end of the evening and saw the practical work going on and the fact that none of the group wanted to leave makes this one of the best creative sessions for the abirdabode project so far!

Holly’s Dragon Castle Art Birdbox

Holly’s Art Birdbox will take the form of a fantasy castle guarded by a fearsome dragon carved in low relief.

My Birdbox

 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.

Eve’s Pop Art Bird Box

Eve’s Pop Art Bird Box is a simple form based on a traditional nest box shape but made into a unique artwork the use of classic Pop Art imagery.

About Eve’s Bird box

My bird box is inspired by pop art. I chose pop art because I like the look of it and it stands out, its different and not many people have the idea of doing it.

I am just doing a normal, average bird box and then putting pop art on each of the sides. If you picture it in your head it doesn’t stand out a lot, but the way I am placing things and the colours I am using stand out a lot.

 The first thing I did was to make a maquette out of cardboard and taped it together. After that we made a plan for the actual bird box. It had all the measurements on it to work out how big the pieces of wood were. The week after Richard cut all the wood into the correct measurements. I have just screwed it together and I am now working on the detail because I am making that on a separate piece of wood to make it stand out. Next week I am going to cut all the detail out and stick it onto the actual bird box.

A Grassroots Christmas

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!

Grassroots’ Big abirdabode takes shape

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!

Jack Skellington the Birdbox- a head of two halves!

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.

abirdabode lands at Grassroots

The start of December and the abirdabode project landed at the Grassroots Community Orchard. Thursday was cold and dry so we were treated to a quick tour of the allotment and orchard (which has almost 200 fruit trees!) and saw the chickens, ducks and bees.

The first group task was to assemble a work bench. Everyone got involved and by the time the bench was assembled it was time for a well earned tea break so we headed inside and started making plans for the Grassroots abirdabode.

The Grassroots abirdabode will be a human size Big Art Bird Box to form the centerpiece of the abirdabode exhibition and which can be used at Grassroots for storage or shelter (and for Andy to hide in!). The group  decided to build it using reclaimed materials as this suits the ethos of Grassroots.

On Friday the sun came out and we started building the Big abirdabode in the very warm poly-tunnel. Some new participants and some old friends joined us and with the use of the newly built work bench work proceeded splendidly and by lunch time we had planned the bird box build and had two side frames complete!