Like many youngsters, Tom Poulsom grew up playing with Legos. And like many grown-ups, he eventually stopped experimenting with the iconic plastic bricks. About two years ago, however, he unearthed the collection he hung onto from the loft and began building; he started with things like cars, trucks, and spaceships, but his true creative epiphany came like something from a classic Disney film. The Bristol, England-based self-employed gardener and tree surgeon was getting his hands dirty in the yard when an unexpected guest flew in. "I had a visit from a Robin Red Breast," he tells Co.Design. Though his new feathered friend didn’t spontaneously burst into a jolly song encouraging him to pursue his artistic dreams, its mere presence was enough to spark something within. "That evening I built Bobby the Robin," he says—the first of 25 birds to date.
Poulsom—who is, by his own admission, "a bit of a perfectionist"—generally spends an evening crafting a new, smaller species, but has spent up to three weeks crafting certain winged breeds (The Snowy Owl and Toucan were particularly tricky to perfect), and sources his stock from BrickLink. "I think of it as pick-a-mix but with Lego elements instead of sweets," he says.
Now that he’s amassed a veritable aviary of different characters, Poulsom believes it’s time to let them out into the wild with the help of Lego CUUSOO, a kind of Kickstarter for Lego projects. 10,000 "supporters," or likes, will get his proposal reviewed, and potentially picked up for official production. He’s about a third of the way there, so click through if you’d like to see these on the shelves. "I feel nature is a great subject, and I think it would be great if children’s toys were more focused on this rather than man-made objects," he says. "My ambition is to build a series of birds from each continent of the world and a series of flightless, tropical, and extinct birds. I predict there will be around 100 birds by the time I have finished the project."