1. Put A Bird In It - Last Year’s Designers are Back for More

    Written by sunfeet22 | October 7, 2013


    It is almost time! The 2013 Put a Bird In It auction is happening this Saturday at Sandbox Studio. Join us at 7:30pm to bid on your favorite houses (which won’t be an easy task once you see this year’s incredible houses).

    We decided to check in with some of our birdhouse designers from last year’s auction to see what they have in store for us this time around. Find out what they learned from their past experience and how they’re putting it into action for their new designs. Also, be sure to check out the collection of Instagram photos that all our makers have been posting to our Tagboard

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    Sockeye’s 2012 Birdhouse

    Sockeye

    Give us a little refresher about your background as an artist/designer/maker.

    Sockeye is full of a bunch of creative weirdos… I mean, we are a talented pool of artists and creative thinkers. We love to make stuff by hand and we have some pretty talented DIY-ers in house.

    What did you learn from your experience designing and building your birdhouse last year?

    As veterans of last year’s “Put A Bird In It” we knew what we were getting ourselves into and just how long we could procrastinate. We learned that sometimes you have to just go with your instincts and throw all the planning out the window.

    Last year we attempted to produce a birdhouse based on one of the template designs… it didn’t turn out exactly to spec but we made it work. You just have to see your vision through to the best of your ability. Also, get off the computer and get your hands dirty.

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    What is the inspiration for your design this year? Can you give us a sneak peek of what you’re working on?

    The inspiration behind this years design was to really break the mold. We are not basing any of the design on pre-existing specs. Without giving away our concept or design here are some of the supplies we are using: a football, paper mâché, wire, model shingles, paint and love.

    Did you have art and music programs in school when you were a child? Why do you think it is important to expose young people to these creative fields?

    Personally, I was exposed to both art and music programs when I was going through school. I remember being in a music class in middle school and having bins of different instruments to pick from, we were encouraged to experiment and learn. I think art and music are such an important part of learning and growing. It’s ultimately providing youth with different avenues to express themselves and nurturing imagination is such a great investment.

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    Eugene Good’s 2012 Birdhouse

    Eugene Good & NEMO

    Give us a little refresher about your background as an artist/designer/maker.

    I am a Portland based creative, by the way of Denver and Chicago. I currently work as a lead designer at Nemo by trade, artist by choice and wood shaper by night using a multitude of mediums and found canvases. While design has taught me a sense of structure, balance & communication, my art comes through depicting images of a messy mind.

    Recent work has been seen at Art Basel Miami (We-Are-Familia), The G40 Art Summit showing at Art Whino in DC, Wooster on paper #2: Graphite in NY as well as Electric Windows summer event in Beacon, NY.

    What did you learn from your experience designing and building your birdhouse last year?

    Mental note…get back to work.
    Seriously though, it helped me realize for this year not to plan too much, keep it simple and just let itself workout naturally.

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    What is the inspiration for your design this year? Can you give us a sneak peek of what you’re working on?

    After running through a few ideas, not doing a recreational vehicle was first on the list. I want to keep it sunny side up but still keep it in relation to Portland like last years birdhouse. This city is obviously is full of big bushy beards. I have some skateboards lying around from previous projects so this year I decided to start with the idea of a sketch, a deck and a beard to see where it takes me.

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    BT Livermore’s 2012 Birdhouse

    BT Livermore

    Give us a little refresher about your background as an artist/designer/maker.

    I’m a sort of jack-of-all-trades creator, working on anything from illustration and design, to various forms of printmaking, to hand-painted lettering and sign work. I also co-run the moustache wax company, Man’s Face Stuff. I’ve never liked not having something to keep my mind and hands busy, and I’ve found over the years that trying to keep a variety of skillsets fresh at any given time is really the only way for me to work because I’m never at a loss for a project, and if I get bored or in some type of artist block in one medium, I can switch it up and refresh myself.

    What did you learn from your experience designing and building your birdhouse last year?

    I don’t think I pushed myself hard enough last year to create something really spectacular, to be honest, but I didn’t really realize that until I saw the other finished pieces. There were so many mind-blowingly cool houses last year, and while I was satisfied with mine in the end, I was very inspired by the amount of over-the-top thought and effort put in by many of my fellow artists last year.

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    What is the inspiration for your design this year? Can you give us a sneak peek of what you’re working on?

    Last year, I used my focus as a sign painter to paint up a fairly simple bird house like a run-down, roadside shack, with tiny, bird-related signage on all sides. This year, I want to make the whole house a more elaborate piece unto itself, instead of simply a vehicle on which to display my work. This year’s house will be inspired by three things I adore: furniture, hugs, and tattoos. That’s about all I can say at the moment.

    Did you have art and music programs in school when you were a child? Why do you think it is important to expose young people to these creative fields?

    I did, but I don’t feel like I took as much advantage of the opportunities that were offered while I was younger. Even then, I think I was very independently minded and preferred to just work on what I felt like instead of doing so inside of someone else’s structure.

    Even with that, I was definitely exposed to visual art and music all throughout my childhood, so even knowing those opportunities were out there was inspirational. If art and music programs are limited or removed, however, the chances become greater and greater that some kid who may find true happiness in a lifetime of creating something, anything, never even finds out it’s an option. That would be a shame.

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    Alexandria Cummings & Jon Staton’s 2012 Birdhouse

    Alexandria Cummings & Jon Staton

    Give us a little refresher about your background as an artist/designer/maker.

    Jon: My name is Jon Staton and I am the Fabrication Lead for Orange Design + Construct, a design build firm based in Portland. Previously, I was the Project and Facilities Manger for ADX.

    Alex: I really liked designing and constructing (and sometimes eating) sand castles and mud pies when I was a kid. I moved from the sandbox into my great grandparents studios and spent most of my free time there making pinch pots and wooden dinosaurs. I graduated in 2007 with both a BFA in Ceramics and a degree in Visual Arts Education (K-12). Over the last few years, I’ve taught in different school settings - 8th grade, homeschool, preschool - these experiences have definitely influenced my work today. I recently co-opened a studio in NE Portland called Green on Grey Studios. When I am not elbow deep in mud, I am working for the Official Manufacturing Company. I continue to learn new things everyday.

    What did you learn from your experience designing and building your birdhouse last year?

    Jon: The biggest thing I took away from participating in last year’s show was that there is no limit to the amount of creativity in this town. Every person involved took the idea of a “birdhouse” in so many different directions. Personally, I try to work from a purest point of view and make the birdhouses as functional as possible, but I can totally appreciate the varied approaches.

    Alex: On a more literal note, we didn’t really think too much about how different sizes of birdhouses suit different species of birds. We definitely didn’t think about the Western Meadowlark (Oregon’s state bird) when building our birdhouse but a cute lil’ Wren would have been happy in our tiny double decker home. Oh and time. Time always seems to get away from us.

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    What is the inspiration for your design this year? Can you give us a sneak peek of what you’re working on?

    Jon: We are trying to think a little bit more outside of the box this year. After seeing what we ere up against last year, I think Alex and I both want to step up our game. We want to make sure that we bring something to the show that pushes our creative boundaries a little further and maybe step out of our comfort zone.

    Alex: Think silos. Tower silos, concrete stave silos, and low-oxygen tower silos. Their ability to tower 90ft above us and 275ft around us is bonkers.

    Did you have art and music programs in school when you were a child? Why do you think it is important to expose young people to these creative fields?

    Jon: I spent a good part of my younger life involved in the performing arts including choir, jazz band and theater. As a matter of fact, theater is where I first worked in the wood shop building set components and props. After high school, I worked in a small community theater scene shop and thats when the maker bug truly sunk its teeth in. I often wonder if I would even be on my current path had it not been for that exposure at such a crucial point in my life.

    Alex: I did have both art and music programs when I was a kid in school. I think it’s important to expose young people to these creative fields because whether these fields become hobbies or careers in the future for kids, it gives them a different way to express themselves, learn and communicate.

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    Join us for WeMake Celebrates this Saturday at Sandbox Studio. The Put a Bird In It auction will be open from 7:30 to 9pm and you won’t want to miss these amazing works of art. It is the perfect opportunity to have some fun, get inspired, and support a good cause. See you there!

    - When: Saturday, October 12, 2013 at the close of Design Week Portland
    - Where: Sandbox Studio, 420 NE 9th Ave, Portland, OR 97232
    - Cost: FREE
    Official event page

    #putabirdinit #wemakecelebrates #wemakepdx #dwpdx

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