Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Garden Tour - More Bird Homes By Tim

Don't forget about our upcoming Garden Tour, this Saturday, August 20, 10a-2p.  We'll be featuring a garden chock full of amazing, blooming native plants and Clematis, the work of Michigan-based garden artists and some delicious locally-prepared refreshments as well!

Wren House
I wanted to take some time to share some more about the work of my friend and fellow artist Tim Hanks, one of the artists who will be featured at our Garden Tour this coming Saturday.  I've written about his work before but wanted to "fill in the gaps" about Tim's background, vision and current path.

Tim is formally educated as an artist, with a Fine Arts degree from Wayne State University.  I can say without any hesitation and complete conviction that Tim loves birds, especially songbirds.  I can mimic a couple bird calls but Tim far outstrips me, reflecting a life-long interest, an interest channeled into a desire to make the world a better place for songbirds by creating beautiful, one-of-a-kind bird houses designed to the most exacting specifications.

Unlike many of the shoddily-made, mass produced (I won't even mention country of origin here) bird houses available at most mass-marketers, Tim's creations are constructed of top-grade California redwood.  He uses stainless steel finishing nails to ensure the houses' long-term performance.  And he incorporates refurbished antique hardware - much of it brass - which he has painstakingly collected, conserved and preserved.  Time also treats the surface of the wood with a safe, non-toxic, natural oil to enhance its natural luster and grain, as well as to create and maintain a water-resistant surface.

In line with specifications established by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (great organization - join today!), the entrance holes in Tim's creations are 1-1/8" and 1-1/4", allowing access for a variety of cavity-nesting birds, including Chickadees (one of my favorites); he also makes homes with 1-1/2" entrance holes suitable for Eastern Blue Birds.  The antique metal escutcheons and other hardware framing the entrances are not only decorative - they also provide protection from larger avian invaders and possible predators, who are unable to make their way through the small entrance or make it any larger.
Tim's Feline Supervisor-in-Charge, Jack

Each Bird Home is equipped with mounting hardware for ease of installation.  (I know this.  The hardest part of installing my new Bird Home was getting out the ladder and pruning the dead wood out of my yew; once we did that, all we needed was a strategically-placed screw, and voila!)  As would any artist, Tim signs and dates every piece with a burning stylus.  Although he works as efficiently as possible, with Tim's attention to detail, the time required to create these unique works of art varies from piece to piece; regardless, he takes the time to make sure each piece is meticulously designed for maximum utility as well as reflecting a timeless beauty.

(When Tim sent me these images of recent work a couple weeks ago, I was especially grateful to see the image of his most ardent and severe critic, Jack, the company's Feline Supervisor-in-Charge.  And although Jack is not always impressed with Tim's work - perhaps due to the sophisticated security measure built into each Bird Home,  you can be certain that quality standards are always rigorously enforced with his ongoing oversight.  At least I'm not alone with my crew of Feline Managers!)

Tim's life-long appreciation for nature, an ongoing inspiration for his music and art, is exquisitely reflected in every Bird Home by Tim.

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