Artist To Make One Million Ceramic Birds For Gender Equality

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World Vision and aaharison Ceramics unite to sell one million ceramic birds to promote gender equality for women throughout the world.

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Birds lined up, ready to be glazed

Because I have three daughters, I wanted the focus of the project to be to raise money to help women and girls in needy and dangerous situations around the world.

Creating and selling one million ceramic birds in a year may seem like a daunting task, but that’s just what Houghton College alumni Aaron Harrison ‘01 has set out to do through his yearlong project, “Million Birds of Hope.” Working in partnership with World Vision, Harrison will be donating 50% from every purchase of a clay bird to aid World Vision’s efforts to promote gender equality around the world.

"I first fell in love with clay at Houghton College during my undergraduate work … and there became convinced I wanted to pursue a vocation using the ceramic arts,” said Harrison. “Gary Baxter [art professor at Houghton] helped to instill in me a love for the medium and a deep artistic and academic understanding of clay.”

Harrison is utilizing the principles of mold making and slip casting to create multiples of the little birds. While each bird is cast from the same mold; the process of altering and glazing makes each a unique piece of art.

“I cast my first plaster mold at Houghton, one that I still have and use in my studio more than fifteen years later,” said Harrison.

According to Harrison, the idea for the project came to him from an exhibit he had created following the death of a close friend, which featured one thousand ceramic birds. After the successful completion of the memorial, Harrison was inspired to take the idea to the next level.

“I wanted to carry on the idea of using the birds to help others and approached World Vision with a fundraising idea, which they graciously accepted,” Harrison explained. “Because I have three daughters, I wanted the focus of the project to be to raise money to help women and girls in needy and dangerous situations around the world. One million is a big number, hopefully too big to be ignored."

For every purchase of a bird, Harrison’s ceramics studio aaharison Ceramics will donate 50% of the purchase price to aid in World Vision’s efforts to promote gender equality for women around the world. With a purchase price of $9–$12 per bird, that equates to a potential $6 million donated if the project reaches its end goal of one million birds.

World Vision is committed to promoting gender equality through education, training and funding programs that help integrate women into the workforce, rescue them from dangerous occupations and educate their communities to break the cycle of gender discrimination. Your support of purchasing a little ceramic bird can help make that happen.

For more information about “Million Birds of Hope” or to pick up one of the birds for yourself or a friend, please visit http://www.aaharrison.com. Also be sure to follow the progress of the project on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/millionbirdsofhope.

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Marshall Green
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