Put A Bird In It—Featured Maker, Maryanna Hoggatt

Written by Leah Noble Davidson

First, she shared the secret thoughts of bartenders with her hilarious two-volume-comic Adult Babysitting. Then, she created a jaw-dropping illustrated series about “the internal struggle to bring ideas and dreams to life against our most powerful enemies: Fear and Doubt.” (We know, right?!) THEN, as if to taunt us with her genius, she taught herself to sculpt, and blew Portland’s mind with some of the most gorgeous and soul-wrenching collections created. Now, beloved Portland illustrator gone sculptor, Maryanna Hoggatt brings her Animal Battle to Put A Bird In It, and boy are we excited.

All Photos Courtesy of Maryanna Hoggatt 

LND: Tell us about how you ended up building your first birdhouse for WeMake.

MH: I was at WeMake last year, and I had a lot of artist friends who were participating — there was such a great variety of results! Last year, I wasn’t sculpting, and this year I am, so it totally makes more sense for me to participate this time around. Last year, I made a silkscreen poster of one of my Animal Battle houses— I started playing around with the environments that they were going to inhabit, and that was the first one I did. Now, I can flex my sculpting muscle, and it’s for such a good cause.

LND: Can you tell us more about your process? How do you do this?

MH: Well, it’s very rich in fantasy, and there’s a really strong narrative in this world that is taking place. All the animals are named and have roles and purpose in this world. What I normally do for the process, is start with a drawing that I’ll turn into a sculpture. And then, I color the drawing, and measure it out. And I just start sculpting and I make sure that everything matches those dimensions as I go along. 

LND: How long does it take?

MH: All my sculptures usually take about two weeks.

LND: So the sculptures are to scale for your drawings?

MH: Yes. Everything I sculpt is to scale. I thought about making this birdhouse bigger, but then, I decided not to. …Birds are small. I don’t know what’s going to happen to it after Design Week, but I’d like to make sure it’s at least functional, like, there’s even an actual birdbath in here. It’s funny how this project came along, and I already had an idea that I painted months ago, so it only seemed natural for me to run with that I idea.

LND: Is there anything different about the house that you’ve done?

MH: It’s a very basic process, but if I don’t map it out, then there could be some very big mistakes in the foundation of it. I hadn’t built a structure before, so I expected that this was going to be new and interesting. This was a big experiment for me. I’ve been watching some Youtube tutorials and nerdy dollhouse tutorials, and on building model train towns— educating myself. Oh, and there are lights incorporated in it! [Click here to see them in action]

LND: So, you have this story. Can you tell me more about where it came from? 

MH: This is the furthest I’ve taken it. I don’t really go so far when I’m doing 3D work; it sort of just lives in my head. I guess, that’s working towards someday, maybe, an actual storybook, and I’m playing with it.

LND: We should be so lucky.