BIRD BOX BIRMINGHAM – charity auction for Birmingham MIND is on eBay now!

The @BirdBoxBirmingham eBay auctions are live! All proceeds go direct to @BirminghamMind mental health charity. Bidding starts from £1.

The idea for Bird Box Birmingham came together during the Covid-19 lockdowns in early 2021. A small collective of Birmingham artists and bespoke fabricators joined the pilot project to create 6 unique bird boxes, to be sold via online auction with all the proceeds going directly to Birmingham Mind mental health charity.

Why bird boxes?
The bird boxes have a connection to nature and its positive and restoring effect. We need green spaces with a thriving wildlife population and in return it needs us to care for and protect it. Bird Box Birmingham is also in support of the RSPB through collectable pin badge sales.

The beautiful display created by @WindowArtists Anna and Luke at the project’s first home at Caneat in Stirchley, was a welcome dose of joy for residents now living more locally.

According to the Mental Health Foundation “…research on the mental health impacts of the pandemic showed going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies and 45% of us reported being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health”.

The beautiful window artwork at Caneat Cafe in Stirchley, Birmingham, created
during the summer of 2021 by Window Artists Anna and Luke.

Five bird boxes flew their beautiful nest at Caneat Cafe and are now perching at The Early Bird, Kings Heath, housing delicious cakes, pastries and brunch all crafted with care and passion; The Loft Bar & Kitchen, Southside, an all welcoming LGBTQ+ indie restaurant, speciality spirits, craft beers and cocktail bar; Stirchley’s cooperative Artefact Projects, a warm and inviting artist-led gallery, workspace and bar; and lastly friendly and thriving community pop up space Moseley Hive.


Find each bird box at:

Caneat, Stirchley – LucyMcLauchlan & Ben Sadler
eBay auction Nov 21st – Dec 1st

Artefact, Stirchley – Joseph Lilley (The Holodeck)
eBay auction Nov 22nd – Dec 2nd

Moseley Hive – Michael Kennedy & Matthew James Moore (MJM Bespoke)
eBay auction Nov 23rd – Dec 3rd

The Early Bird, Kings Heath – Claire Douglass Glen Powis (MJM Bespoke)
eBay auction Nov 24th – Dec 4th

Moseley Hive – Ben Sadler & Matthew Foster (Plane Structure)
eBay auction Nov 25th – Dec 5th

The Loft Bar & Kitchen, Southside – Joe Lycett & Matthew Foster (Plane Structure) eBay auction Nov 26th – Dec 6th

BOX 1 – Lucy McLauchlan and Ben Sadler

eBay auction 8pm November 21st – 8pm December 1st

Lucy McLauchlan bird box for Birmingham Mind eBay auction. Box made by Ben Sadler (from oak veneer).

When Kate proposed the bird box idea to me I was in full support, to bring the birds into your world and support MIND is a powerful combination that resonated deeply with me. I hope the project raises more support for the incredible work MIND does. Thank you Kate for pioneering this project. – Lucy

Lucy McLauchlan is an artist from Birmingham, UK. She makes murals, installations, painting, and other types of mixed media work. The images are often complex black and white patterns and explores the abstract forms created by large brush strokes. Implicit within her work is a deep respect for nature as she draws inspiration from her immediate environment; allowing it to inform and direct what is an intuitive and explorative process.

Box 2 –Joseph Lilley (The Holodeck)

eBay auction 8pm November 22nd – 8pm December 2nd

For bad birds only! Joseph Lilley (The Holodeck Birmingham) bird box for Birmingham Mind eBay auction.

“The initial idea was to recreate a ‘hell-mouth’ of sorts that would be seen in early Dutch paintings. I thought this would be fitting on a Dutch barn style building – so I made a box from leftover cedar wood cladding. I like reusing materials where I can – waste not want not!

To give a convincing barn look – I clad the box in old offcuts of lathe and plaster lathes that were removed from our house renovation. I cut some of these up to make small tiles for a shingle roof. 

Once it was all together I thought it would be fun to apply a 
#ShouSugiBan finish to the wood – this is an old Japanese technique of burning the surface of the wood – which I did with a roaring blowtorch flame. This actually forms a protective layer on the surface to resist weathering, and gives a convincing burning hell appearance to the wood.

On top of this I applied a naive painting of a hell mouth, and then set fire to the box again to burn and flake the surface and oxidise the paints to give a trashed burned out look. I wanted to keep the colours somewhat muted to be more bird friendly. The finishing touch was to add the signage, so that everyone is clear that the box is for bad birds only!”
– Joseph

Artist and founder of The Holodeck Joseph Lilley has been operating his printmaking and design studio since 2013 in Birmingham. The studio specialises in risograph, letterpress, and traditional printmaking techniques whilst also producing their our own range of printed ephemera, hand-marbled papers and stationery. They work directly with artists, designers, community and activist groups on their printed matters and also run an open-call publishing project called Risobook.

Box 3 – Michael Kennedy and Matthew James Moore (MJM Bespoke)

eBay auction November 23rd 8pm – December 3rd 8pm 2021
Michael Kennedy bird box for Birmingham Mind eBay auction from November 1st ending December 3rd 2021. Box made by Matthew James Moore / MJM Bespoke (from birch ply, gaboon ply, pine and sapele).

The idea behind the bird box was to have a simple action occur on the sides of the box that tells a somewhat surreal story. In this case, an ink drop falling, splashing and morphing into a bird. As a cartoonist I often use ink as a separate “character” and wanted to use it here in place of rain. With the bird I suppose being a blackbird! – Michael

Michael Kennedy is a cartoonist, graphic novelist and editorial illustrator from Tamworth, Staffordshire (b.1994) and is currently based in south Birmingham, UK.
In editorial illustration he has produced for The New Yorker, Wired, Medium, Adult Swim and NBC News. His comics have been published by McSweeney’s, Freak Comix 10, Tiny Splendour, Self Made hero, Editions Presque Lune, Vault Comics, The Smudge and self published through the Inki Art dept. The graphic novel Tumult was a finalist for the SNCF Prix Polar at Angôuleme BD festival in 2020.

Box 4 – Claire Douglass and Glen Powis (MJM Bespoke)

eBay auction November 24th 8pm – December 4th 8pm 2021

Claire Douglass bird box for Birmingham Mind eBay auction. Box made by Glen Powis (from beech, walnut, oak, and ash).
I was very happy to take part in this project, it ticked a lot of boxes as I will happily watch the birds in my garden all day. Mind Mental Health Charity have been very supportive to a friend who has long term mental health problems and as the finished work was going to be displayed in an independent café at a time when such places are facing an uncertain future, it all felt right.

Unpainted, the box was a small beauty with dovetail joins designed and made by Glen Powis and frankly you could have shown it as it was. 

I went with a restricted green palette and a classically influenced landscape at the front of the box to lure the viewer in with a sense of calm and beauty. If you follow my work you’ll know that leaving it at that would not really be an option, so on the sides and back, I added images of discarded furniture and bin bags of waste that have been fly-tipped. It immediately became a very contemporary landscape.

I added the stripes to the top to emphasise the shape of sloping roof and because I have a dim recollection of a lovely vintage Dior hatbox I once saw that had a landscape around the base and a striped lid, wish I could find an image of it…

I don’t know if the box will ever be occupied, it’s had three layers of an exterior varnish, so even outdoors it should keep its colours for a few years
. – Claire

Claire took a bit of time out from documenting late stage Capitalism over at The Garden of Earthly Delights to paint this beauty and gives “A special shout out to Glen Powis who designed and made the lovely box with dovetailed corners and dowelled joins. Shame to slather it in paint really….”

Claire is a graduate of The Royal College of Art with a career as an exhibiting artist, and is presently Visitor Experience Assistant at Birmingham’s Bom where art, technology and science collide.

Box 5 – Ben Sadler and Matthew Foster (Plane Structure)

eBay auction November 25th 8pm – December 5th 8pm 2021

Ben Sadler bird box for Birmingham Mind eBay auction. Box made by Matthew Foster (Plane Structure, from European Oak)

When I first saw the bird box that Matt at Plane Structure had built I thought two things:
1) It’s beautiful! Don’t mess it up, Ben!
2) That roof look likes a hairstyle!

The idea for the piece grew from there. If the roof was a hairstyle, then the hole in the front was definitely an eye. I began to picture a character whose thoughts flew in and out of their eye like birds. I imagined them being a bit goth or emo, happy hanging around trees listening to the Cure or My Chemical Romance. The rest then just dropped into place.

The box is painted in acrylic, in a similar style to the brush pen and ink drawings I like to make. I really like the idea of the birds inside the box being the head’s thoughts and feelings. It’s how my head works I think.
– Ben

Ben and artist Philip Duckworth are the duo behind the mighty Juneau Projects. They have worked together for nearly twenty years, developing a practice that looks at the possibilities of artistic production through collaboration and participation. A recent project of theirs consists of a series of sculptural bird boxes on the theme of migration, folklore and history.

Juneau Projects enjoy the surprises that come from working with people to develop ideas, designs, objects and experiences. They are interested in the perceived relationships and boundaries between the natural world and human civilisation and how this has altered over time. In tandem with this Juneau Projects are fascinated by the evolution of technology and its role as a lens through which to view the world.

“Creativity is a fundamental impulse for humankind, and sculpture, in its widest form, is central to this – tools, instruments, statues, clothes etc all display people’s evolving relationship with materials and space.”

(Extracts taken from an interview with Research and Cultural Collections)

Box 6 – Joe Lycett and Matthew Foster (Plane Structure)

eBay auction November 26th 8pm – December 6th 8pm 2021

Joe Lycett’s original ‘Tit box’ for Birmingham Mind eBay auction.

Behold a gorgeous handmade bird box (suitable for tits) in Joe’s signature blue, pink and yellow. Made from Douglas fir by Matthew Foster (Plane Structure) and entirely hand painted by Joe with a delicately painted arrow, and the word ‘TITS’ to help guide any beautiful tits straight inside the box. Signed and numbered 1/1. Joe’s original and first born that inspired the limited edition of 150 tit boxes produced by our friends Plane Structure, in aid of Birmingham short film makers.

Joe Lycett is a comedian, painter, filmmaker, sculptor, television presenter, poet, gardener, dietician, radio presenter, tuning fork, Fiat Punto manual and queer.

Bespoke fabricators:

Matthew Foster (Plane Structure)
Plane Structure works with artists, designers, galleries, architects and businesses to design and make artworks, furniture, display furniture, plinths and exhibition stands. We project manage and deliver whole gallery exhibition installations and hang and maintain art collections for corporate clients.

Director Matthew Foster is from a fine art background and began his career working with gallery technical teams. He established Plane Structure in 2011 to fulfil a need for skilled art fabricators in Birmingham. Since then the company and its workshop has grown to deliver specialist carpentry and joinery as well as gallery installation. Plane Structure now works with arts organisations, architects and creative business on a wide range of projects.

Matthew James Moore (MJM Bespoke)
Glen Powis (MJM Bespoke)

MJM Bespoke is a design and fabrication studio based in Digbeth, Birmingham.

We work directly with clients in both commercial and domestic settings to create things to be loved.

With over 10 years’ experience in custom fabrication and joinery, MJM Bespoke employs an adaptive, specialist workforce to manage and deliver exciting furniture projects throughout the UK and beyond.

Images above credit: @HankAndMargotUK