Summer is almost here and we aren’t the only ones getting excited for the coming season – our feathered friends appreciate the sunshine and greenery too. In fact, though spring is often considered the best time for birding, the longer days and warm weather of summer are ideal for viewing bright plumage displays and nesting habits! What better way to welcome some winged beauties into your yard than with a whimsical felt birdhouse?
Designed and imported by dZi Inc., these felted wool masterpieces come in a great variety of shapes and patterns, whether it be peony, birch tree, toadstool, or barn (to name a very few). Their unique designs and vibrant colors catch the eye and make a great addition to any back yard. They are made entirely with sustainably harvested materials, from the natural sheep’s wool of the felt, to the hemp and hand carved bamboo perch of the hanging chord. And the birds love them! The small opening in each house (1 ¼” diameter) is perfect for small birds like wrens, chickadees, blue birds and sparrows, but can be enlarged to accommodate bigger species.
Take a look at the before and after photos below of a felt birdhouse shaped like an orange. The photo on the right is a couple seasons old and has been lovingly used by a family of small birds. You can see part of the nest sticking out of the opening if you look closely.
Since they are made with natural components, the felt birdhouses stand strong in the face of natural elements. The wool is water repellent, quickly drying off when damp, and dirt resistant, so a good brushing should take care of any bits stuck on the outside. Additionally, the felt is also mold resistant. Like most any dyed fabric, the colors may begin to fade after 2-3 months if placed in direct sunlight, but will last much longer if placed in a more protected area, such as a porch or under the eaves of a tree.
Why do we love them? Aside from being fun, fetching and functional, they are of course, fair trade! Founded in 1990, dZi Inc. was the reorganizing of a council in the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, started in 1987, whose aim was to promote the sale of Tibetan handcrafts made by refugee communities in India.
Named after the Tibetan word for a powerful charm or vessel of great secrets, “dZi” (pronounced “zee”) imports items made by artisans from Kathmandu, Nepal, and provides safe workplaces and livable wages for all it’s produces. In fact, dZi was a founding member of the Fair Trade Federation. Their mission is to “create innovative trans-cultural experiences”, striving to “inspire and educate with high quality goods and services by connecting artisans and consumers through the sale of fair and ethically traded products.” Pictured below are two felt artisans from their workshop in Nepal. They are busy braiding and tying the hemp cord from which the birdhouses hang.