For more Accessories from the Metro New York area - search: newnewteam, toys on Etsy
Purty Bird - I started making paper-mache birds (what PurtyBird was about originally) back in grad school when I wanted to give my mother a cute ceramic pig that I had seen in a gift shop window (she collects pigs) but didn't have the money. I decided to try making her a rough equivalent for Christmas. I chose to work in paper-mache because it was accessible---as a grad student I had an abundance of paper to work with, and the rest of the ingredients were cheap, even to me! In the process of realizing my vision I created a veritable barnyard of pigs and other potential animals. One of the non-pig-like body forms resembled a bird. I impulsively gave it a beak. Encouraged by the result, I added wings and a tail. I painted it as I had my mother's Christmas pig, covered in flowers. The result made me laugh so I made another, and another, and another, giving the more successful ones away as gifts. Everyone who got one said I should sell them somewhere. Being up to my neck in dissertation research at the time, I couldn't explore the possibility.