If you hang the right hummingbird feeder, the tiny creatures will come.
That is the philosophy of artist Laura Burrell Garden, who lives off of Highway 73. She found what she calls the perfect hummingbird feeder, plus she decorates them with artwork to give them her own personal flair, calling it Usable Art by Laura’s Glass Garden.
Garden, who has been a craft artist for years, said she had trouble getting hummingbirds to come to her feeders at her house, so nine years ago, she began researching and experimenting, and found that green-tinted glass seemed to allow the nectar to stay fresh longer. And it attracted more of the petite birds, too.
She adorned the feeders with individualized paintings, and they sold quickly at craft shows. To make them more rapidly, she created a process where she puts her paintings on vinyl that she heat-seals to the feeder — a process pretty uncommon for functional art.
“I saw a bus drive by with advertising on it, and I thought, `If they can get ads to stick to the glass window of a bus, I bet there is a way I can get my art reproduced and stick to a glass feeder,” she explained. “It took a long time of trial and error, but I did it.”
Enter COVID-19, and craft fairs dried up along with sales, so Garden put out a plea on Facebook, hoping to sell more feeders to keep her small business alive. Now the orders are rolling in.
“It saved my business,” she said. “I thought I wouldn’t be able to do this anymore.”
While she still does primarily vinyl-wrapped hummingbird feeders, she still creates one-of-a-kind painted-glass artwork.
The hummingbird feeders look like old-fashioned green glass soda bottles upside down with wildflowers, columbines, poppies, forget-me-nots and more on them. Garden says they are easy to clean with no plastic parts that can crack or fade. She says the nectar can last up to three weeks rather than clear glass that requires cleaning almost daily.
With the feeder comes a card with instructions and tips for bringing more hummingbirds to the feeders.
“The foothills really does care about art and neighbors,” Garden said. “The sales will allow me to order more (feeders) and hopefully by spring, we will all be shopping in our small businesses again. I am so grateful to this community.”