Two More Bookish Birdhouses

Alison Morris - February 24, 2009

A Harold house and a Pigeon house are my latest birdhouse creations, which I’m sharing here because so many of you have told me (mostly off-list) how much you enjoyed my last "bookish birdhouse" and how much you’d like to make one of your own. What follows, then, is a bit more inspiration! Pardon the yellowish tone to these photographs, but the nighttime lighting in Gareth’s and my apartment leaves something (actually, lots of things) to be desired.

First, though, I just want to say that I carved out time to make these birdhouses during a very busy weekend because I could think of no better gesture for saying a heartfelt THANK-YOU to our Store Manager, Deb Sundin, and our Assistant Manager, Kym Havens, for all they do on a daily basis to keep our store running, keep our staff happy, and keep me (personally) sane. I have never worked for two more agreeable people than this pair, and our store has never been in better hands than it is with the two of them at the helm. Everyone should have the joy of working for and with people who make them feel respected, who tell them they’re appreciated, and who listen, always, to what they have to say. People who do those things are worth their weight in birdhouses, I always say. (Okay, maybe I’ve never said that before in my life, but I’m starting now!)

Up first, a birdhouse (for Deb) découpaged with pages from an ancient, pages-missing copy of Harold and the Purple Crayon that I once bought at a library sale for ten cents.

The pages of this book were too small to fill either the front or back side of the birdhouse, so I clipped decorated bits from other parts of the book to fill things in a bit. I left a space between the top and bottom bits and the central page on each of those sides, so that a stripe of the background color shows through.

The book’s pages fit the roof of this house perfectly! Here’s the right side.

And here’s the left side:

This is the first birdhouse I’ve done that also incorporated text from the story, and I think it worked quite well! I especially liked putting the last page of the book on the back of the house, so that all the other sides seem to tell the story up to this point

And yes, of course, the perch on the front of Harold’s house is…? A purple crayon.

Next (for Kym), is a birdhouse découpaged with pages from an F&G for Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (I’ve been saving that F&G for years, because I knew it would eventually be perfect for one project or another, which it has!)

I promise you the colors are MUCH better in person… (sigh)

Here’s the right side of the house:

Here’s the left:

And here’s the back where (just as he is on the front) the Pigeon is dreaming:

In the absence of tiny steering wheels (who’s got those lying around?) I couldn’t come up with any obvious "bus" tie-in for the perches of this house. Gareth suggested that a yellow number-two pencil would at least be the right color, resembling school busses as those pencils do, and I agreed.

I think the Pigeon would approve, don’t you? (Goodness knows he’s got an opinion about EVERYTHING!)

Deb and Kym, THANK YOU!

14 thoughts on “Two More Bookish Birdhouses

  1. Kym

    Alison, you completely made my day!! Words cannot express how much your praise – and my Pigeon birdhouse – mean to me. I am so lucky to work with you. Your creativity and enthusiasm are an inspiration. THANK YOU!!!

  2. ShelfTalker

    Unfortunately these birdhouses are NOT fit for outdoor use, Cassie! They’re definitely of the indoor/decorative variety. So, unless the Harold house occupies a place in VERY direct sunlight, behind glass, I suspect the crayon will remain intact!

  3. Karen

    These are SO CUTE!!!! Seriously, there aren’t words! I’m a children’s librarian, and a friend of mine sent me this link because she knew about my fondness for Harold. I’m so glad she did…*love* your work!! 🙂

  4. ShelfTalker

    Excellent question, Cleo. Unfortunately it’s one for which I’ve got no clear or concrete answer. Copyright law is VERY complicated and open to a lot of interpretation when it comes to making crafts made from copyrighted material. Collage artists grapple with this all the time. I did not get prior permission from the copyright holders of these books to use their images on the birdhouses. For that reason I have probably committed a copyright infringement by creating these birdhouses. They’d be considered “derivative works.” I say probably, though, because it depends on how MUCH of the copyrighted material is used in the finished product, and everyone disagrees (because the law is unclear) as to how much of the original material can be used. This puts the whole collage/crafts/derivative works issue on some very shaky ground. If you want to steer clear of any legal tangles when creating crafts using copyrighted source material, your safest bet is to make them for personal use or to give to a friend or otherwise craft them on a teeny-tiny inconsequential scale that isn’t earning you any money and hopefully isn’t upsetting any copyright holders. (Hence the reason I’ve been making these birdhouses for my own personal use or to give to friends. Period.) You still aren’t legally absolved from any guilt, but if no one’s upset, then no one’s likely to come after you. SELLING “derivative works”, though, is a dicier venture. You run the risk of upsetting copyright holders, on the grounds that you’re making money off THEIR copyrighted material. I have no interest in tangling with lawyers or offending authors/illustrators, which is why (sorry!) you won’t find me selling these birdhouses on Etsy or anywhere else for that matter. For more copyright info./interpretation, I recommend visiting where one collage artist explains her understandings of the law, in relative (but easy to comprehend) detail.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *