Coastal Living & Etsy!

The birdies are on page 13 of April’s issue of Coastal Living! Very exciting!! I love the photo, is a thrill to see them in print, and this certainly also helped the birdies fly to new places, thank you so much for all of the wonderful interest and for bringing birdies to land at your home!

Also, the birdies have found a new nest on Etsy, I’m totally thrilled about that and am enjoying learning about the Etsy community and seeing all of the beautiful goods for sale! Am excited to see so many wonderful natural and handmade things, now I know where to shop! Also, BirdProject is now a member of Etsy Nola, who just put up a post about the birdies, thank you! And in Nola you can also now find the birdies at Longue View House & Garden Shop!

Busy-ness! The past few weeks have been sooo busy, let’s go ahead and make that the past 6 months haha! Still working to get the new slipcasting molds right w/ Nick over at New Orleans Tile, I am so grateful for his expertise. My mom has come for a visit this week and is helping me pack birdies, make deliveries around town, birdmaking etc. aaaand make me eat regular meals, get a haircut, ha some of the things that just fall by the wayside when you’re such a busy bird! We’ve had a few yummy breaks at the Creole Creamery, St. James Cheese Shop, & Elizabeth’s today, lawdy – soooo good! Dropped off another batch of ceramic birds at the amazing Emily’s to be soaped, I feel so lucky to have found her and am so thrilled to be working with her on this! : ]

Soon upcoming is the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Spill, it’s incredible a whole year has passed. It’s also incredible how much more there is to do in the Gulf and how much is still unknown or yet undetermined. I hope that with the anniversary the attention brought will help spotlight the things in need and show that this is far from resolved.

More coming soon..

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This calls for a Dixie!!

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 : ]

Happy New Year!

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 –

December:

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.

Year Ahead:

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!

Post Kickstarter updates/the past couple weeks + Christopher Walken

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.. : ]

Steps onward..

So very much has happened since I’ve been here in New Orleans!  I have found an amazing local soapmaker and a fantastic biodiesel manufacturer!

Soapmaker: Emily of Sweet Olive Soaps, a third generation soapmaker of NOLA and member of the local craft mafia, she is an expert in soapmaking techniques and also capable of small and large scale production.  I love her handmade approach, beautiful products, and database-like knowledge of natural ingredients.  She also has a lovely garden & chickens behind her studio!

Biodiesel Manufacturer: Operation Reach, a community based non-profit focused on providing learning opportunities which is manufacturing biodiesel of fryer oil from local NOLA restaurants.  When I found Operation Reach on Pepsi Refresh [grant to fund teaching teenagers green energy manufacturing] I thought that they would be a wonderful fit for their focus on community building and am so glad to be involved with such a great organization.

I am thrilled that both parties are interested in BirdProject and so excited about working with them!  Photo below is from a tour of Operation Reach’s biodiesel production facilities by the über informative Daniel!

Additional exciting developments: helping to plan Tulane’s TEDxTu happening in November, Kickstarter approved my project submittal, and having spotted & submitted to Michael Karnjanaprakorn’s post of an offer to give back, he has offered his time and expertise at the end of September to help BirdProject/NOLASOAP!  New Orleans is unceasingly amazing me, thank you for finding value in this idea!