A refuge, both for birds and soul

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When you envision a birdhouse, the first thought to cross your mind probably isn’t “a canvas of unlimited possibilities.” But after you spend some time with Jerry Reganess, and browse over his whimsical avian creations, that will change.

Reganess is a resident of Milford, Pennsylvania, and the craftsman behind some of the most unique birdhouses you’ll likely ever see. Though their style may have one foot in the American folk art, the other foot is waving high in the clouds. “

About five years ago, I was in between jobs,” said Reganess, who had been a corporate label designer, creating global standard graphics like hazard warnings. “Instead of staying in corporate mode, I decided I wanted to kick back and discover my artistic side.”

Building out of his garage, refashioned into a workshop, he creates each piece using found objects. Some are repurposed building materials, others trinkets and baubles discovered at yard sales. His first sales occurred literally in his front lawn. “At first I was putting the bird houses out on poles to dry, and people would just stop on the side of the road and want to buy them.”

As time progressed and Reganess honed his skills, he opened a whimsical brick and mortar shop in the town of Milford. Though successful, he felt conflicted about it and eventually closed his doors. “I was selling [the birdhouses] to keep the shop,” he said. “That’s not what I wanted.”

What mattered most to him was the ability to have creative freedom — that the mental state when creating be directly reflected in the quality of the work. He took a hiatus from birdhouses for a couple years, and a job in construction.

“Three years ago I closed my art shop,” he wrote on Facebook over the summer. “It was my creative outlet. It’s coming back, my creativity that is.”

Reganess is once again creating birdhouses, but he now operates his business via inquiries through his Facebook page (facebook.com/jerry.reganess). Doing so allows him the creative freedom to craft as he sees fit, and judging by the popularity of his birdhouses, it’s working.

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