Recycled Art - The Bird's Eye View

Contributed by Marilyn Bennett

Last year, I decided to transform my favorite Victorian Lamp into a Birdbath.

I had been thinking about what to make to put into the Recycled Garden Art Contest at the Alaska State Fair. It occurred to me that I was never going to use my Victorian lamp in our small rambler. The lamp fit very well into our lovely old Victorian brick home back in Minnesota, but it looked utterly out of place in our small ranch home here in Palmer.

Since I loved the lamp, I did not want to give it away or sell it. I looked at the lamp and decided that it could be turned into a birdbath base. Then looking around for the bath part I settled on a lovely old green bowl… Doug built a nice base for the lamp out of a piece of discarded wood and we then devised a way to mount the bowl to the lamp base. It turned out to be an adorable birdbath. I entered it into the Recycled Garden Art Contest at the Fair in August of 2018. If you had gone to the exhibit, you would not be surprised that my birdbath did not come close to winning. There were some really spectacular entries in the Recycled Art Contest last year that totally eclipsed my Victorian birdbath.

I was fine with not winning, since I was quite happy to have such a cute birdbath for the birds who hung out at our bird feeder. Luckily, we live in what I call a "bear free zone," so we can leave a feeder out all year. We placed the birdbath out on our deck near the bird feeder and waited to see the birds enjoy it. These Alaskan birds didn't seem to understand the purpose of the birdbath we had made for them as they completely ignored it. Winter arrived soon after, so we took the birdbath in for the winter.

This Spring we put the birdbath back out on the deck right next to the bird feeder. Those silly birds continued to ignore our wonderful creation. We thought of putting up a sign, but that seemed silly as we didn't think we had a bird like Snoopy's friend Woodstock, who could read "!!!" We then decided to set our deck chairs next to the bath as many of the birds liked to perch on the back and arms of the chairs.

Mid-July 2019 and the birds were still completely ignoring my lovely birdbath. I thought about a flatter bowl that we had considered using last year when we made the birdbath. We didn't use it because we felt the green bowl was more artistically pleasing. I decided to place this flatter bowl inside the green bowl and see what the birds thought of that. Within two hours the birds were happily bathing, drinking and using what they now recognized as their birdbath.

It did make me consider looking at items from the point of view of the end user and not just my artistic view point. I will always go for the artistic look first. However, I will consider the birds point of view when faced with constant rejection.

This year, I have not as yet had any great ideas of what useless item I have that could be turned into an artistic creation. It may yet come to me, but nevertheless, please make it a point to visit the Valley Community for Recycling Solutions (VCRS) fair Booth on the Purple Trail, Miners Loop this year. Be sure to vote for your favorite art piece.

Even if I do not manage to win the contest this year, I will be Ok. I always enjoy looking at the creative items the other artists have entered and making my plans for next year's contest.

See you all at the Fair.