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The Birdhouse Project - A sustainable creative venture that celebrates Glossop’s spirit

October 5, 2023

As part of Glossop Creates pairings residency projects, artist Liam Hopkins - aka Lazerian - is leading a creative project that merges art, sustainability and community engagement. The project has reached the end of the research phase, and will now move onto the practical phase that will, once again, empower the community to get involved. We explored the project in more detail with Liam…

As part of the 2023 pairings residency scheme, Liam was paired with Glossopdale Furniture Project, and to kick start his partnership, he engaged and empowered the community to curate a unique colour palette, inspired by the town itself.  Liam wanted to capture the essence of Glossop’s vibrant spirit with the palette and translate it into modern, sustainable furniture pieces for the Furniture Project, all while fostering a deep connection with the town’s residents.

Creating a colour palette for Glossop

The call to action was simple yet profound: invite residents to capture Glossop’s essence through their own lenses and for creatives to be inspired. Whether it’s the sweeping landscapes, architectural wonders, everyday objects, or intriguing textures, Liam encouraged the community to share their perspectives in the form of photographs.

These images, which have been submitted by the people who know Glossop best, have been transformed into a custom colour palette. This palette serves as the creative thread weaving through Liam’s design process. With it, he has crafted innovative and sustainable pieces that are not just visually captivating but also accessible to all.

Liam with Claire and Steven from Glossop Creates

An eco-friendly journey

Glossopdale Furniture Project is a registered charity that helps people who have been referred from social services, housing charities, women’s refuges and many other local organisations who support individuals and families in need.   GFP also operates two shops where local people can buy upcycled and recycled furniture for their homes and businesses. They have an in-house workshop and painting studio, which Liam has engaged with as part of his project.

Liam’s partnership with GFP meant that he could use preloved donations and wood offcuts in his sustainable project, which has taken these items and repurposed them as birdhouses which attract and provide safe shelter for many species of bird which live in the town.  Liam is deeply committed to eco-friendly practices, championing recycled materials and waste reduction throughout his creative processes.

Celebrating Glossop’s Unique Character

Liam said: “Glossop’s charm is in its diverse landscapes, captivating textures and distinctive objects scattered throughout the town, and the community’s perspectives are vital to capturing Glossop’s true essence. By inviting residents to contribute their own photographs, we have celebrated individual viewpoints and showcased the myriad ways people connect with their surroundings.

“This project is more than just art; it’s an homage to Glossop’s identity and a testament to the power of sustainable design. The project not only brings Glossop’s vibrant spirit to life but also encourages a profound appreciation for conscious design and responsible consumption.”

Birdhouse kits for Glossop

Liam plans to create kits with pre-cut shapes, and wants to involve the community through interactive workshops, where volunteers and residents can create their own unique Glossop-inspired birdhouses.  The idea of making sculptural birdhouses for the Glossopdale Furniture Project is both practical and promising. The design, with its cutout shapes, fits well with the Project’s abilities and values.

From an economic perspective, this project has several benefits for the Glossopdale Furniture Project. Selling the birdhouse kits could generate a steady income stream, supporting the Project’s ongoing work and increasing its visibility in the community. These products become more than just objects; they become ambassadors for GFP’s mission and the town’s identity.

Liam added: “Involving local people in making these products has economic value, but it also builds community pride and ownership. As residents take part in the assembly process, their personal stories become intertwined with the creative work. This deepens their connection to the town and the Project, fostering a shared sense of responsibility and pride.

“The resulting birdhouses reflect both individuality and community bonds, showcasing the power of collaboration and strengthening community support and engagement. By turning residents into active contributors, the Glossopdale Project becomes a unifying force, enriching the town’s social fabric and strengthening its ties to its people.”

Why birdhouses?
Birdhouses can provide several benefits to towns and communities when strategically placed throughout the area. Here are some ways in which birdhouses can help towns:
  1. Biodiversity Conservation: Birdhouses provide shelter and nesting sites for various bird species. By increasing the availability of suitable habitats, they can contribute to the conservation of local bird populations. This is especially important in urban areas where natural nesting sites may be limited due to habitat loss.
  2. Pest Control: Many bird species, such as sparrows and bluebirds, are natural predators of insects and pests. By attracting these birds to your town with birdhouses, you can help reduce the population of harmful insects, which can have a positive impact on gardens, crops, and overall pest control efforts.
  3. Education and Awareness: Birdhouses can serve as educational tools. They provide opportunities for residents, especially children, to learn about local bird species, their nesting habits, and the importance of biodiversity. This increased awareness can lead to a greater appreciation for nature and a desire to protect it.
  4. Tourism and Aesthetics: Birdhouses, when well-maintained and aesthetically pleasing, can enhance the visual appeal of a town or neighbourhood. They can attract birdwatchers and tourists, contributing to local tourism and economic development.
  5. Community Engagement: Building and maintaining birdhouses can be a community project that fosters a sense of togetherness. Residents can work together to install and care for birdhouses, creating opportunities for social interaction and community engagement.
  6. Soundscapes and Atmosphere: The presence of birds in a town can improve the acoustic environment. Birdsong adds a natural and soothing element to the urban soundscape, making the town a more pleasant place to live and visit.
  7. Ecosystem Services: Birds play a role in pollination and seed dispersal, contributing to the health and diversity of local ecosystems. Encouraging bird populations through birdhouses can indirectly support these ecological services.

Lazarian is a multidisciplinary creative studio specialising in designing and creating bespoke products and experiences for both interior and exterior spaces.

The Glossop Creates Pairings commissioning programme takes an action-research approach, inviting artists to develop ideas and creative methodologies whilst creating high quality, locally relevant work that increases local engagement with culture and the local environment. For our Pairings Artist Residency programme we link an artist / creative practitioner to undertake a creative research residency with an issue, business or geographic point of interest that is integral to our community.

Find out more and keep up to date with Liam’s birdhouse project, keep an eye on Liam’s website at