DIY Mad Scientist Hahabird Drills Into the Ordinary to Emerge With Art
Nathan Pryor explains his laboratory lamp, a pumpkin that plays Tetris, a giant spirograph, and more.
Have you ever looked at an ordinary object — a computer monitor, a glass piece of labware, a pumpkin — and subsequently envisioned an entire creative DIY process to transform that thing into something entirely different, with a totally different use? If your answer is no, that’s perfectly fine. There aren’t many people who do mull over that creative process in their minds while looking at everyday objects, but Nathan Pryor does. Pryor is a 40-year-old project manager for a software company outside Portland, Oregon, but in his spare time, he is Hahabird, a reputable maker of inventive curios.
I came across Hahabird’s work on Reddit’s DIY page, where several users share their homemade projects with a curious and crafty Reddit community. Pryor’s post about the “Laboratory Lamp” he created out of an Erlenmeyer flask immediately caught my attention, as it transformed something exclusively scientific into a useful piece of art. The laboratory lamp is Pryor’s latest project, one that is inspired by his growing interest in lab ware like flasks, beakers, and test tubes. In an attempt to “bring a little bit of the science lab into the home,” Pryor turned a basic chemistry flask into a fully functioning lamp. “That shape has really become an icon of science, you see that and you recognize exactly what it is.”
For Hahabird, one of the most exhilarating aspects of DIY creating is the uncertainty leading up to the finished product. “I’m not good at following directions,” Pryor says. “It’s not that fun building something that somebody else has already built.” Pryor relishes the creativity required to make an invention like his laboratory lamp — he enjoys figuring out as much as he can on his own. He spent several hours holding the lamp, looking at it, turning it over in his hands before deciding what he could do next to get it closer to the finish line. It’s laborious, but he assures you, “If you have a drill and a saw, you could hack your way through it.”
You should also get a load of his 8-foot-wide sidewalk chalk spirograph, a jack-o’-lantern that plays Tetris, and a state-of-the-art trash can out of an old Mac desktop computer. His ideas grow out of a deep-seated sense of practicality: His parents modeled self-sufficiency with projects, never “hired anyone to fix anything or do anything around their house.” Gradually collecting tools and trinkets over the years, he has most of what he needs to bring any of his wildest ideas to bear.
Pryor says that in any of the given rooms he frequently spends time in, there are at least a few creations he has made. DIY projects may not be his main source of income, but they are his main source of artistic fulfillment and happiness. Pryor says that he receives his fair share of rude comments online. Trolls gonna troll. People ask him, “Why would anybody ever want this? It’s dumb.” He doesn’t take these comments to heart. “Some people just don’t get that it’s fun to make things for the sake of making things.”