Kickstarter Backers’ Items Shipped!

Wow! What a trip to the P.O.!  I originally tried to set up a pick up, as it was 60 packages!  Since this was taking too long to arrange I went ahead and took them over in my beetle/pickup truck/sleigh – I did feel a liitle bit like Santa : ]  FYI – if you need to ship A LOT of packages, the post office will let you borrow a cart, thank goodness – it took a good 15 trips or so from workroom to car.. haha, I was imagining how I would do this in a Brooklyn post office.. fighting the line, not so happy post office worker at the window, putting a package in one at a time through the bulletproof glass window opening, the line building behind me, haha – it would have been a little trickier.

Here in NOLA, it went much easier, I went in, listened to the chat in front of me while in line to ask if a cart was available, the woman behind the counter very generously got me a cart to borrow, I rolled it – loudly, the singing wheels and hollow plastic body echoing through the halls of the p.o. and the courtyard parking lot, causing everyone to look and see what was this woman doing with this big, orange cart? why does she have so many packages? why is she so loud? Haha, luckily I am not that easily embarrassed nor mind if people goggle : ]

Two lovely ladies divided the work and we got it done really pretty quickly!  I am so excited to see pics/hear word of the birds’ new nests and am thrilled to have gotten the generous backers on kickstarter their backing rewards.  I was interviewed this week for an article on kickstarter locally and the reporter asked me what I would have done if Kickstarter didn’t exist.. I thought, great question! & am I really thankful for it being there.  The whole thing was a great learning experience and an exciting and truly fun way to raise money for your project.  It makes it really personal and rewarding and it’s also really hard to imagine it not being there.  I guess that’s part of an excellent idea or object if it fills a void so well with its validity.  So, thank you kickstarter backers and thank you kickstarter!!

As you receive your birds, please share photos of them in their new nests if you don’t mind.  I’ve really enjoyed seeing the photos and stories shared thus far!

a whole she-bang ready to fly out the door!

the stack builds!!



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 –


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!

Beautiful boxes! : ]

So, so very thrilled!! Just picked up the beautiful boxes hot off of the presses at Purple Monkey!  They are the best, they have done such an awesome job on the tote bags, postcards, and now boxes, thank you wonderful, talented people at Purple Monkey!!

I am so happy to see things coming together!  While making my veggie burger quick dinner I just danced a jig and sang a song about how toast is awesome! Dorkus maximus, but I am simply thrilled!!

Also exciting is they’re printed w/ water based eco-inks, on recycled paper & the tissue paper will be recycled too – jippee!!  More coming soon..

‘Oil Spill Inspires Art’

BirdProject was included in a great article by Kate Kiefer Lee on halogen – please see the ‘Oil Spill Inspires Art’ article here.  Thank you Kate!

Also included in the article are Bergeron Woodworks and Anthony Burrill and his beautiful ‘Oil and Water Do Not Mix’ posters – coincidentally he also worked with the great fellows over at Purple Monkey to create these beautiful posters created with oil from the spill! [This is who we are printing our bags, postcards, and boxes with!]

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.. : ]


We reached almost 6K on Kickstarter!!  Thank you, danke schüne, merci beaucoup, mucho gracias!!!!!!!

What an amazing 30 days and I greatly appreciate your support BirdProject Backers!!  So looking forward to sending the birdies and other BirdBacking gear out to you!! : ]  Reaching the set goal of $2500 in 5 days was amazing enough and then to more than double it over the next 25 days is completely exciting. [This meant that we raised enough for the initial run’s start up costs.]

I greatly appreciate your interest, support, and feedback throughout this process.  Truly I am so glad that you find the value in this project and am thrilled to hear from many of you that you now feel that you are a part of it by backing, that makes me very happy.  Thank you for being a part of it!!!

TOTE-ally awesome!

Check out the new, hot off the presses at Purple Monkey BirdProject tote bags!  Eco Inks!  Printed on recycled cotton totes!!  You can fit an entire market in here.. or at least all of your market needs or a pug!

Woohoo!  Other updates: many exciting things in the works that I can’t tell you about yet, they are so exciting I just might pop!  But, I will hold out until underway.. This weekend will be a birdie production weekend, thank you to Heather at Byrdie’s [coffee & tea shop, gallery, & ceramics studio] we will be happily producing molds + ceramic birds en masse!  Also, thank you to John Oles for getting us all straight with our new press molds.  Hooray!  Excited for these birds to fly the flock and out to you!

About 50 hours left on kickstarter! Thank you BirdProject Backers!!

7 days left on Kickstarter & week in reflection

Wow!  So honored at the wonderful response on Kickstarter.  With 7 days left we are a few hundred dollars away from funding our initial run start up costs, how wünderbar!! [And now can we make it to 7 in 7 for the perfect & locally produced boxes?]  Thank you for your generous support as well as your enthusiasm for the project backers, it is so very appreciated!!

This week I was forced to slow down a bit in getting a cold that just would not go away and instead got worse.  Having this time to rest a little, have been going pretty full steam round the clock for the past few months + moved, allowed me to appreciate how much has been accomplished in a relatively short time.  I am so grateful for everyone’s help through the whole process.  From friends in RVA helping me pack my moving truck, thank you Nikki, Mary Lou, Neil, and Adri!  To my mom helping me move my things to New Orleans with about a week’s notice and supporting my risk taking decision.. thank you Mom for not critiquing this [as i think many would!] and instead sending me inspirational articles from the times related to starting a new business in this era. : ]

And thank you to all the people I’ve met along the way and in New Orleans.  The people I’ve met are incredible and I’m so happy to be working with them all!  Alison my business partner in MATTER, Emily of Sweet Olive Soap Works, Operation Reach, Social Entrepreneurship students and faculty at Tulane, Lexie at Audubon, wonderful people at Launchpad, Michael Karnjanaprakorn who volunteered his time for a day, John Oles of ceramics dept. at Tulane, Heather at Byrdies, and excited for making new connections as they come.  I don’t mean to make this a thank you speech, but having the time to ponder a little bit this week while sick, ha! I have considered how much has happened in a pretty condensed amount of time.

Ps- Exciting things in the works for next products from MATTER.. more coming soon! : ]  Off to meet Alison for a fun working/planning meeting!

Here’s some pics from this week:

Waiting for ceramacist on a rainy afternoon, I had a strong coffee and a cupcake, yum.  Cake café in the Marigny, sooo tasty.  Also, they don’t have internet – at first slightly annoyed that I couldn’t work, after a few minutes.. I welcomed the space and noticed how everyone in the café was actually talking to each other or if solo reading books, not obsessively checking in online as is par for the course in most places these days.  Aaaah, thank you cake.

November in nola, the flowers are blooming!

Press molds by John Oles, faster than slipcasting in that there’s less cleanup after the pressing & bases more consistent

Ceramic bird sizing tests, the ceramic birds shrink about 12% so these rough bird shapes were marked with their original heights and fired to give me a visual guage of that shrinkage, thank you Heather at Byrdie’s [coffeeshop & ceramic studio in st. claude]

yes, i did have TWO cupcakes this week, this one w/ my friend Bob while he was in town at Butcher!

Yesterday evening I hosted a potluck dinner for Tulane’s Net Impact group, about 18 Social Entrepreneurship students came over yesterday, bringing along a delicious & diverse smörgasbord with them!  We had homemade egg rolls, indian delights- what was that dessert called Tasneem?, fried rice, 2 kinds of mac n cheese, mashed potaters, roast chicken, spicy rice, apple & cheese plate, cookies…anyhow, it was all delicious and they were a real delight to have over.  Also have a couple of ladies interested in interning next semester for MATTER! thank you ladies : ] & I look forward to the next one.

Audubon Magazine, November issue, article on volunteers for BP oilspill

Link to the article here, it always makes me a little sniffly to think of all the hard work and dedication which people are openly giving without depth.  There are beautiful photos, video, and a great article on Volunteer’s stories.  [my dorky mug is also included, don’t make fun, it was 5 am and I slumbered little the night before!]  I love Ann Linn and Jacob Watson, neighbors who have been helping the birds together since the occurrence of the spill, they’re the first two on the left in row of volunteers’ images.

nice write up from TBD + updates

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.