So thrilled! Thank you to our good friends at Daily Grommet for making this happen! And thank you for Nikki Carter for providing me with her copy, I couldn't find a single one in town. And another thank you to Nikki for including our dear Birdies in her local New Orleans holiday gift picks!
Also so excited to be included in treehugger's holiday gift guide for animal lover's! Love this line from the writeup: "Swap the novelty bar for BirdProject Soap's black and white birds with a story." Birds with a story, makes me happy to hear that.
In other news, I have been busy re-making both soap and ceramic molds and I'm so happy to now be working with the amazing Brooke Cassady, she is making the ceramic birdies in her lovely St. Claude studio.
Check out the ceiling in Brooke's studio, isn't it lovely! They are barge boards - each color is from a different ship. I love you New Orleans!
Also thrilled to now be working in the civic center space in the Bywater, it is such a treat to be surrounded by such talented people & to share such a lovely space. New Orleans really feels like a special place at a special time, I’ve been reminded of how I felt when I first moved here [two years ago] lately. Like I’d bumped into Hemingway in Paris or Basquiat in New York in their glowing eras. For me, it’s an inspiring blend of social entrepreneurship, the many passionate and talented people, the enjoyment of life and good work, the magic city. I feel so lucky to have found the people and things that I have found here.
Signing off to work on some items for a fellowship application, hope that you are well & had a lovely Thanksgiving! That reminds me, ps - I am now the proud owner of a picnic table, which is where my roommate Shoshana & I hosted Thanksgiving. It sits under a banana tree, which is also a real treat. My dear friend Alex helped me pick up the table from Lowe's & assemble it in the backyard. This $80 purchase made me feel like I had reached some new level of adulthood but at the same time feel giddy like a small child souped up on candy & ice cream. It's really the little things, I suppose.
And check out this pie that Shoshana made! Apple + Heath bar streusel, YUM.
xo's from New Orleans!
Happy weekend! On Friday, I met with Gulf Restoration Network to discuss a few details about an upcoming partnership for a new version of the birdies. The donations will go directly to oil spill clean up & clean water research! I'm so very excited about working with GRN on this as well as producing this new version, more on that coming soon... in the process of testing a few different options.
BirdProject had two great articles posted online yesterday - one in Huffington Post and the other in Hello New Orleans, both by Karen Dalton Beninato - thank you Karen! She found her bird at Nadine Blake in the French Quarter, Nadine started carrying the birdies last week - I love her beautiful shop! The birds are also now at Fair Folks & a Goat, who are in the Marigny and NYC, at the Museum Shop at NOMA, at Perch in San Francisco, and at Spruce - the first retail location.
Also in development is MATTER's new product, due to launch in April - will share some of that info soon too : ]
This has been a busy month! Returned from the gandhiwarming weekend early Feb. & went straight into helping the Green Team at Tulane build our sculpture of trash 'Get Wasted - with the Wave' which represented how much trash is generated on Tulane's campus per year [3300 tons - 300 tons being recycled]. I've recently started working with the awesome folks at Civic Center, which I'm completely thrilled about, I love working with them and their wonderful projects! Have also entered a couple competitions this month.. fingers crossed! And been making birdies all the while, learning more about the business end of things [profit margins,excel sheets and the like], developing the new project for April mentioned previously, and continually learning how to do things better! : ] All in all - thrilling.
My friend Sherrie is visiting Big Sur this month and staying in this - NEST! Maybe I can get a BirdProject retreat in there sometime this summer? : ]
shelf of birdies in stock! : ]
calendar near my work table to keep the big picture in mind! [ in corner ]
a flock of a couple hundred birdies ready to bisque
new belt buckle - thank you megan! a prize from gandhiwarming weekend : ]
birdies on display at Nadine Blake's!
a sweet lil' darlin' came in [think it was emily?] while setting up the display, i always take a pug sighting as good luck, thank you sweetie!
BirdProject Dream HQ - any BirdProject benefactors out there? : ]
redefining 'bird dog'
a new delight! great egrets are nesting at audubon park! on our morning walks have seen them the past two days, beautiful!
Happy Valentine's day or as I read earlier this morning on TBD - Generosity Day!! I had already planned to give the donation today from the first flock of birds to Gulf Restoration Network & IBRRC in the spirit of loving appreciation and then the post by TBD sweetened it!
Just made a donation of $1600 on behalf of BirdProject to GRN & IBRRC - thank you and many kisses to you BirdProject backers and supporters!!
Aaaaaand, while I was making the donation to IBRRC -'bird is the word' came on the radio, a colinkadink or what?!! How exciting and now, really for that Dixie!! Cheers and thank you : ]
I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday! This post will need to play some catch up! December, Looking back at 2010, and Year Ahead -
What a whirlwind! As the pieces came together it was a wonderful exercise of organizing the parts to become a whole ready to fly out into the world. Looking back on it, it's quite amazing that they came together right before the holidays! Coordinating ceramics [creating ceramic birds, firing, glazing, firing] transporting to emily for soap-making, packaging [did a packaging beak and tip of tail padding test on my birdie, wrapped a couple of times was ok], shipping [wow! a whole job in itself - i was a box scavenger, they were like gold, got them from whole foods, walgreens, neighbors, office depot, ha - developed eye scanners for small cardboard boxes], project blog posting took a backseat for a bit as I am a one woman show at this point..thus the lapse in posts. The ceramics proved to be the most time consuming part of the puzzle, the press molds work wonderfully but simply take time and moving into larger scale will need to switch to slipcasting molds pronto! Before the holidays, I shipped birdies and bags and washcloths and haiku postcards to more than half of the kickstarter backers [thank you amazing backers!!], a firm in Seoul, South Korea ordered some as gifts to their clients for New Year's, Reserve-A-Bird giftcards, and I brought a few to the eco design shop Spruce - I brought them 10 and they sold seven in the first evening, wow! Spruce also sold Reserve-A-Bird giftcards and started a waiting list as well! I hope this wonderful response to BirdProject continues, thank you all for supporting the project and for helping to raise awareness about the BP oil spill disaster.
Looking back at 2010:
Who knew? : ] As I quickly packed my bags to head to mom's for the holidays, having taken my last beetle full of packages, stuffed in like clowns in the old vw ads, to send off into the world from the post office, oh how I wish I could send them piggyback via carrier pigeon!.. I sat slightly hallucinating, ha! from being a birdbot for weeks and weeks, lack of rest and odd, quickly prepared meals - all gratifyingly so, not whining a bit, i loved this entire process - so I sat my beloved worktable [portable sawhorses & a piece of plywood, yes!] surrounded by BirdProject goods and in my new home of three months and thought... holy shit a lot has happened, it's like years packed into less than a half of a year, it has been so dense.
Looking back at the path behind me, and at the past few months - it's amazing what can happen when you have the time and energy to put behind something. I think I'd been looking for this Something for a while, I had grown disinterested in making things for the sole sake of making them, I thought too much about them sitting in the landfill afterwards. I was looking for something that was worthy of development, something that.. well, mattered, sorry for the company pun. When working on something no matter [really, again? : ] what it is, you pour your heart and soul and time into it and I wanted that Something to be something that I really cared about spending that precious time on and heartfelt energy into. When this idea came, I knew it was IT and it had to happen fast because of the urgency of the oil spill.
Looking back I can see the bits and parts of my life that have given me the experience to work on this project and that is a very tranquil moment to sit with. I have done a lot of different things and sometimes at the time they could have seemed random [not that there is anything wrong with that, i like it - at moments though you think to yourself, why am i doing this?]. I enjoyed being able to see in hindsight the different points in time, and experiences/skills gained that connected to form these birds and this project, in sending them back into the world, almost as a little stippling. To learn from the past to bring forward with you - I think the key is, follow your heart and your instinct and try! Also, I think, don't rush, take your time and find your speed to find it in the way most meaningful to you. Everyone has different speeds - listen to yours whether fast or slow and find your process or the thing that makes you go. And if you don't succeed right away, try again and don't try to be perfect - that is inhuman, besides the learning and the interest is really in the trying and the finding.
Wow, so now there's a whole calendar year ahead minus just a few days so far! I have a few lists of things to catch up on, things to occur in the near and far timelines, and new/current ideas to pursue & develop. I am really appreciative of all that has happened in the past few months and would like to thank everyone who has helped in this, I could not have done it without you, and I am so very grateful for your help and your collaboration! I am excited to continue and develop current collaborations and see where the birdies will fly! I am also excited to meet new people and ideas, find dreams to open up and form new relationships with wonderful people to make things happen. Wow, at the end of last year, someone introduced me as "This is Tippy, she makes things happen" I'd really like to live up to that statement, I greatly appreciated it and was thrilled to be introduced as such. So here we are, to a Happy twentyeleven, am looking forward to great things happening, and I am also really looking forward to making contributions to IBRRC and Gulf Restoration Network via your support of BirdProject, that will be the best!!
More coming soon!
Buongiorno! It's about midnight New Orleans time, but I'm excited to give you updates! : ] My apologies for my lapse between posts, it has been BUSY the past couple of weeks, all in great ways & I am thrilled about it!
This week 4 MBA's, YES FOUR! have been assigned to BirdProject from DePaul University and are in New Orleans this week helping us w/ our business plan, fundraising strategies, ways to fund upping production [ceramics!] which reduce our manufacturing costs... Natasha, Jason, Pinar, and Tisha we have been thrilled to be working with you! Merci Beaucoup for your hard work and so excited to see your ideas!
Also this week I have submitted for a local fellowship [fingers crossed everyone!! bittebitte!!] and Alison has been working on our submission to a socially-responsible business plan contest [fingers crossed again!!] Ooh ooh! and if I didn't mention MATTER is now amongst the first L3C's in the state, this Low Profit Limited Liability is new as of September in Louisiana!! We met w/ the most brilliant lawyer at Tipitina's co-op, thank you Ashlye! [pro-bono + law students arranged through the Arts Council] to form MATTER and we are legit! We have also included B-Corp framework within our articles of association [since currently only B-Corps can incorporate in MD, but you may become certified in other states] - I am ecstatic about this!! C'mon legislators pass the laws to enable and aid more L3C's and B-Corps!
+Gift boxes are finally arriving tomorrow & will be on the way pronto-tonto to be printed by the excellent local print shop Purple Monkey
+350 ceramic birds were created in the past week & soon on the way to Emily the wonderful soap maker! They are looking so pretty, so happy to see them.
+Tote bags, postcards are complete and looking awesome!
+Washcloths on the way!
=YAY! These past weeks have been doubly densely packed.
ps - Christopher Walken bit: Today I rode my bike to meet the fabulous four business students downtown and then rode my bike to the Bywater [it was a beautiful day] to pick up a box for artwork tests.. on the way there, riding through the Marigny a movie was being filmed on Frenchman Street - I chatted with the nice people guarding/blocking the street and the kind lady said - that's Christopher Walken over there dressed up like a homeless guy, if you wait you can go down and maybe see him, so I did! I waited a couple of minutes, then when they cleared the street post film-take, I walked my bike through and sure enough on the right was Christopher Walken and as I walked by w/ my bike, was I glad I had something to lean on! And we locked eyes for a few minutes! I must have had a massive dorky grin, he is completely my FAVE!!
making the soap mold.. before pouring silicon in. the bucket acts as a mother mold [not needing then to create a plaster mother mold] once sets, you pull the silicon mold out of the bucket, slice down the sides to get the clay bird out & voila!
first test w/ the fired ceramic bird inside shown here in his soapmaking environs [glycerin cubes in foreground]. unfortunately the first ceramic birds were too large, you could see them at the top ridge - so we had to remake our plaster molds for smaller ceramic birds that wouldn't show through the soaps. the soaps turned out beautifully though! was a real treat to see the final birds in soap form, plus they smell like heaven! emily is amazing!
I was completely craving a ny slice for weeks, while visiting emily and waiting for the test soaps to cure we went to emily's husband's recommendation spot for pizza [he is from new jersey] to nino's pizza in uptown, nino moved here from brooklyn 25 years ago & that crust is like heaven! yum!
re-creating the new molds w/ a smaller bird model.. you build up the first half w/ clay being careful around the edges of the bird to keep the detail & create the proper parting line without any undercuts..
pour the plaster on top, then use your newly created side 1 - lube it all up with petroleum [ironic i know] jelly so that the plaster doesn't stick to it self, then pour again for side 2, repeat! moldmaking is so tiring, i'm not sure what it is about it, but alison and i have done 2 days of moldmaking now & each one we are both suprisingly KNACKERED! we did make eight total..
REWARD! Alison's husband Rajko and my buddy Alex Podesta were both in a great show EMERGE at the Ogden Museum of Southern art [it was awesome! a great collection of work, I was impressed] so I went to represent [to borrow Meg's lingo] & then shared a beer and yummy fries w/ Alex & Mark afterwards, thanks for an awesome eve guys!!
building the flock! we have had some wonderful helpers - some of my Tulane amigas came in one day - thank you Tanvi and Ann! And Rajko and Thomasine each created Century Days where we cranked out 100!! Merci, merci, merci!!
TEDxTU was On Nov. 22 - I've been helping students from the Social Entrepreneurship department plan this for the past few months and it was truly a wonderful event, some amazing work going on here in New Orleans and I am thrilled and honored to have been a part of this!! Check out the inspiring speakers here!
On Thanksgiving I actually took the day off! I made ice cream for Thanksgiving din [maple syrup, ginger vanilla] caught up with my dear amiga Cécile in Italy and just had a lovely relaxing day, was nice to get up and not bolt out the door! : ] palm trees at thanksgiving was AWESOME! i missed the opening day at the races though - next year!
first batch bisque fired, so very exciting! and luckily any that split, simply split & did not explode!! please can this continue kiln gods? we are very grateful & will gladly do special dances!!
the flock continues to build.. : ]
See their lovely newsletter here, Thank you TBD!!
Other updates for this week, Images for backers rewards: postcards, washing cloths, & tote bags can be seen under the updates section, no. 6. [Had a few rearrangements to make for various reasons I won't go into here.] Shewee, it's been a busy one, what else has been happening.. have been developing plans for MATTER, w/ my new biz pahdna Alison Radovanovic! Alison is amazing and I must say we've been getting on swimmingly, so glad to be working w/ such an amazing woman!
Also looking at setting up some workshops, please keep your fingers crossed! : ]
Went for a great meeting and tour of a box factory this wednesday, so impressive! Pratt is 100% recycled and have been doing so for some time now, I actually for once didn't have my camera with me that day. The factory was so interesting, I love a factory tour! So the boxes get cut and printed at the same time going thru rollers [cut on half, print on other half of roller] w/ these cool 'taffy machine-esque' floppy rubber rings that catch them and roll them down the way when spit out the other end of the rollers. I also liked that they collect all of their scraps in the factory as well as paper throughout the community, three thumbs up! If we can afford them for the first run we will definitely go w/ Pratt, lovely people & a I think a perfect fit for the project.
Ok, photos below: 1.Giveaways to students interested in interning w/ MATTER/BirdProject for a community changemakers event I did at Tulane on Monday, thank you Katie! 2. Yummy fridge cleanout! Garlicky black beens, goat cheese, brown rice, tomaters, sautéed spinach, & an over medium egg - platurrtito, it's really like a burrito sans the burr 3. Took the ferry back from the west bank/ embroiderers 4. Pretty tractors on the ferry 5. Chicory powered! continuing my exploration of all the chicory coffees from the Breaux Mart, will report back, this one is new as of today.
I am elated and thrilled and tickled and EXCITED to have met this goal so quickly!! Thank you wonderful backers for your generosity and wonderful energy. So happy to have received such a wonderful response for the BirdProject! This speedy goal reaching is great to have time to raise further funds, the $2500 goal is half of the initial run cost, I decided to set the goal at half since is an all or nothing sort of deal on Kickstarter. THANK YOU BACKERS!!! Can't wait to send you your birdies + other goodies : ]
Can I tell you how much I love Kickstarter? I have been following their site for the past year & have seen so many amazing projects such as: Harald Geisler's 2011 Typography Calendar, Pinch - cool salt and pepper set, 26 hours left on that one!, the beautiful ice houses of Detroit by Gregory Holm and Matthew Radune,my intro to KS - Coming & Crying, and recently funded Pimento Cheese Please documentary on this Southern Delight by Nicole Lang and Christophile Konstas. Kickstarter is the NEA grant of our era - thank you brilliant starters of Kickstarters!
Below are some pics of recent ceramic moldmaking process + a delicious breakfast with my friend Chris who was travelling through at my favorite breakfast [i love it!] joint in the WORLD - Elizabeth's in the Bywater! Fried green tomatoes, taters, coffee, perfectly poached eggs, & a tasty biscuit.