After years as a family photographer, Orit Harpaz found a new passion in painting inspired by the quirkiness of children’s literature. Launched in March 2020, Harpaz’s brand Weirdoh Birds met a faltering, enclosed world yearning for creativity and found its rhythm quickly. Two years later, Weirdoh Birds offers wallcoverings, linens, tote bags, and pillows covered in whimsical aviary drawings – and Harpaz is currently developing a new collection of designs for release later in 2022. This week’s Maker Monday is the creative mind behind Weirdoh Birds, Orit Harpaz.
Weirdoh Bird designs, like the Fancy Pigeon print featured in silver frosting on thunder grey above, are offered in a range of tones and outlines.
Andrew Joseph: If you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?
Orit Harpaz: If it’s not obvious already, I’d be a bird. I love what they symbolize – freedom, eternity and infinite possibilities. I would specifically want to be a Western Parotia, a type of Bird of Paradise mostly found in New Guinea. They are talented dancers. They spread out their skirts and hold their breast shield high and dance with great confidence. A bird after my own heart as I love to dance as well.
AJ: If you weren’t a designer, you’d be a ….?
OH: I’d be a botanist. One of my first jobs as a teenager was working at a small flower shop. The shop owner was a horticulturist and taught me a lot about the science of the flowers and plants we worked with. The concept that a tiny seed can turn into a large tree piques my curiosity about the secrets of the natural world.
The Star Hen pattern plants its subject in the center of a sun-like fan, giving the wallcovering a kaleidoscopic feel.
AJ: If you had a superpower, what would it be?
OH: I’d be a shapeshifter. A child of the ’70s, The Wonder Twins of the DC Comics TV show, Super Friends, were my favorite characters. They could change from their human form into water and animals by fist-bumping each other. They helped fight evil with their superpowers making the world a better place.
AJ: What’s one thing people don’t know about you?
OH: I was a surrogate mother 10 years ago for a couple who were not able to have their own baby. I didn’t know the couple but we are now friends. It was an incredible experience.
AJ: What would your dream project or dream client be right now?
OH: A franchise of boutique hotels with a bird theme. A Weirdoh Bird theme to be exact. Every room would be covered wall to wall with Weirdoh Bird wallcoverings.
Harpaz dares to pair funky images with extreme tones and contrasts for altogether unusual, charming designs.
AJ: How do you define beauty?
OH: Beauty is something that stirs my heart in elation and delight. A sunrise, a sunset, my husband’s dimpled smile and my son’s deep green eyes are just a small spattering of what I find beautiful.
AJ: Best advice you’d give your teenage self?
OH: Stop allowing your inner critic to overshadow your inner authority.
About The Maker | Born and raised in Los Angeles in the 70’s, Orit Harpaz’s childhood was incessantly documented by her dad – using 8mm to super 8, Beta, Polaroid, Kodak and every format in between. Having that visual history of those memories gave her a strong feeling of belonging and deeper knowing of her identity. With this understanding of the importance those images hold, she started her photography business specializing in family portraiture 25 years ago.
Harpaz’s bird art came later at a time when her son was around 5 years old, in 2009. He loved reading Shel Silverstein’s poetry while hula hooping. He would laugh at the whimsical words and Harpaz would relish in the illustrations. She was inspired to create her own whimsical creatures and the aviary world called to her. Researching birds through photographs, she was entranced by their plumes, wings, colors and shapes. Harpaz’s hand drawn birds were given an imaginative, pop art interpretation featuring a variety of fantastical plumage and geometric shapes.
Weirdoh Birds took flight in March 2020 with a unique line of designer wallcoverings, linens, tote bags and pillows. The current collection was a co-collaboration with fashion designer Greg Herman. More wallcovering designs and other home good products are brooding for 2022.
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