BirdProject Helps Clean People and the Gulf
The BirdProject is a perfect blend of Tippy Tippens’ background in design and her desire to help in the aftermath of the BP oil spill. Her sculpted birds, made with Louisiana clay, are covered in black soap locally made by Sweet Olive with fair trade olive oil, glycerin, aloe, cypress scent and activated black charcoal. The BirdProject concept: as you clean your bird, your bird cleans you, and ends up as a small sculpture to remind you of the natural world that still needs our help post-oil spill.
Tippens describes how the idea blossomed: “The idea for the birds began with the recurring thoughts of abstract bird forms. I was living in Brooklyn at the time of the spill, my hands felt so tied being so far away in addition to the restriction of regular Joe’s being able to help directly with the cleanup due to the need for expert care.”
Details on groups benefiting from the project are available at Matter Design for Social Change and the philanthropic aspect was crucial to the project’s development. “As a long time environmentalist it really hurts to see the devastation to the innocent natural world, so I felt completely compelled to do what I could to help," Tippens said.
"I kept thinking about these black bird shapes and started drawing, model making, and then searching for a relevant material. The birds then evolved to embody a message of recovery and hope.”
From packaging to ingredients, Tippins told HelloNewOrleans.com how her project came together organically: “Every part of the BirdProject is eco-friendly -- one, because of its purpose as a response to an environmental disaster and, two, because of the determination to do so as a designer. Often in a manufactured product you might be able to obtain one eco-friendly piece, but it is quite rare unfortunately for the entire product. This is my first solo product to market, and it was really important to me to build the complete story for a healthy environment."
My bird found me at designer Nadine Blake’s shop on Royal Street. The product is also available at Spruce eco-studio, New Orleans Museum of Art Museum Shop and Fair Folks & a Goat. For out-of-towners it’s also available from the BirdProject's online, shop, and at Fair Folks & a Goat in New York City and in San Francisco at Perch (appropriately enough).
Posted on March 7, 2012 by Karen Beninato