Murphy Munday possesses an undeniable whimsy, mirrored in everything she does - From her effortless personal style, to the furnishings arranged in her charming Prospect Heights apartment, to the wildlife-inspired sculptures she creates for Birdie Ott. These well-crafted pieces range from wall mounted arrow decor to animal bone home accents. When she is not managing her husband's (very exciting and very successful) photography business, she is in her studio making and marketing Birdie Ott. All products are available through her site. Let them bring a peaceful, natural, element to your life!
Tell me about Birdie Ott! How did you come up with this cool concept?
I have always collected what I call "nature treasures" any time I go hiking, camping, or just spend the afternoon outside - anything from a perfect pinecone, to a local rock for my collection from around the world. I realized that I love bringing a little piece of nature into my home. Now my hope is that my craft will bring a peaceful, natural element into some else's life.
It all started with a month-long trip to a cabin upstate. My husband and I wanted to take a little break from the city, get back to nature a bit, and talk about our future goals. It was great! While we were upstate, we would go on hikes every day, listen to the radio, and work on little crafts just for ourselves. I ended up finding and collecting hundreds of beaver sticks from the Delaware River without an idea of what I'd use them for. Months later, it hit me! I wanted to make arrows from the beautiful driftwood. I gifted the originals to some close friends. And still feel connected with each arrow or decorative item I make!
What is the process of making each piece?
I love to think that the process is a collaboration between nature, animals, and me. For example - when I make my arrows, I use driftwood that beavers have eaten the bark off of and have attempted to use in a beaver dam, but nature took it's course and stick ended up as driftwood downriver. I've foraged for the driftwood and modified it by attaching a hand-knapped arrowhead and collected turkey feather using a strong 100% cotton Japanese thread that I waxed with beeswax.
I love the name "Birdie Ott!" What does it mean?
Thank you! Birdie Ott is a combination of family names Ott comes from my maternal side, and Birdie comes from my husband's paternal side. I toyed around with a few different brand names and felt like Birdie Ott had a great overall feel of what I'm making - bordering just a little on the creepy side.
Who is your target market? How do you find new clients?
I'm still learning about my market for sure. My greatest fans seem to be 8-12 year old Boy Scouts. As much as they're interested in my items, I find that people who purchase my items are a very broad audience, but most share an appreciation of nature and enjoy the symbolism of an arrow.
Have you ever been asked to make anything bizarre or creepy?
Not really...I'm very open to collaborations or customizations. I love making new things and trying out new products, so by all means, feel free to reach out with creative ideas!
You work with your husband, who is a Photographer, on other ventures. Does he lend a hand with Birdie Ott? Any late-night Netflix watching and string-waxing assembly lines?
Aww, yes! Josh (my husband) is a huge supporter of Birdie Ott. We love collaborating on photo shoots and foraging adventures, but he avoids helping me with the actual hard part of making / assembling. He also has helped me many times set up for in-person events and pop-up shops. He's the greatest!
When you aren't working, what do you like to do in Brooklyn?
Well, that's kind of a rare time for me not to be working. But when I'm not, I love to hang out at Prospect Park. I love playing darts, card games, riding around on our vintage Moped, and - of course - trying out different brews and restaurants around the hood.
What is your best advice for Brooklyn based artists and art enthusiasts to give or get support from the local art scene?
Just get out there! Participate in as many pop-up shops and in-person selling that you can. It's a great way to get some feedback from the community, meet other makers, and find your path as a creative.
Photos by Caroline Petters