|These one-of-a-kind "Bird Estates" are handcrafted by
folk-artist Norman "Dugie" Russell. Each piece is
personally initialed by the artist and inidividually
numbered, and no two "Estates" are alike.
My wife claims that I am a certified “Garbologist” with
an acute case of “Disposaphobia” which insures that
each of these unique, trash-to-treasure creations is
made of 100% recycled materials.
All of the materials used to build these estates were
either found by rummaging through the rubbish,
exploring in someone’s cellar or attic, or bought at a
flea market or yard sale. (One of which was a two-day
yard sale that turned-out to be a treasure trove of
goodies and almost cost me a divorce!) The sole
exception is the sturdy frame, which consists of 13-ply
Baltic Birch wood, giving the structures their
considerable strength and weight. (Most of them are
well over five pounds.)
I have created several different themes for my “Bird
Estates”; Rustic, weather-beaten barns, churches and
homes; ornate and colorful Oriental and Bermudian
themed estates; and various, unique structures such as
outhouses, bait shacks, fishing shanties and mills.
These “Bird Estates” range from small, single-
occupancy homes to multi-family “condos” and estates
with multiple tiers.
Some estates are created from a very limited supply of
old boards, delivered by a moon-tide, then trapped in a
North Shore salt-marsh for eight years. Bleached by the
sun and weathered by many storms, these knotted
boards have a character all their own. Roof shingles
may be fashioned out of distressed shutters, bamboo
curtains or old, wooden venetian-blinds scrounged
from someone’s rubbish.
Various estates exhibit copper peaks and gutters or
other brass fittings that were procured at various New
England yard sales or flea markets; crawling vines
and/or door latches hammered from salvaged copper
wiring; brass perches or handles on the roof adapted
from antique drawer-pulls; rustic water pumps
fashioned from 1800’s-era maple-syrup spigots; and
wood-bins filled with split “logs” consisting of old tree
branches divided by a customized “4-way log-splitter”
that I created from the business end of one those old
After losing several estates to squirrels or other
varmints that chewed the entrance hole to gain access
to the eggs or chicks, I now insert a polished brass or
galvanized steel ring around each entry hole,
eliminating this problem. These estates also feature a
variety of uniquely crafted clean-out doors for off-
season maintenance and air vents with brass screening
to prevent uninvited insects from entering.
Each estate is fully functional and built for outdoor
use… or you may enjoy placing it in one of your
preferred rooms amongst your favorite plants and
listening to the "oohs” and “ahhs" of your envious
friends and neighbors.
I’m hoping that you will enjoy these personalized pieces
of folk-art as much as I enjoyed building them.
by Dugie Russell
CREATIONS BY DUGIE
Norman "Dugie" Russell
|Dugie's "Bird Estates" range in price from $125.00 up to $350.00.
If you are interested in purchasing a custom made "Bird Estate"
or any of the "estates" shown, call 978-922-5588 for details.