Elephants on the quay
If you go down to the waterfront you won’t be at all surprised
To see boats bobbing up and down and yachts of every size
But you’ll also come across several highly painted elephants….
‘Elmer’s Big Parade’ opened in Ipswich at the weekend, with 53 of the painted ‘Elmer the elephant’ sculptures all over town. Such an imaginative way to raise a great deal of money for the wonderful St Elizabeth Hospice, and at the same time find an art form that is accessible, fun and appeals to all ages. In the early hours of dawn the 53 elephants were placed in position around the town and by mid morning families were out and about finding them all. By the time I got to mine, down on the waterfront at Neptune Marina (by the quayside railings outside Coffeelink), several children were trying to work out what all my letters of the alphabet stood for. ‘Elefont’ is an Ipswich sailor’s alphabet, spelling out everything you find along the dockside. Some letters have just one meaning, some have several if you can find them! ‘Elefont’ is sponsored by Neptune Marina and we had fun working out the detail together. Thanks to Alan Swann at Neptune for solving the problem of what to do with V, W, X, Y and Z – we cheated a bit and used the nautical flag codes for these.
Making ideas visible is not straightforward. The sketchbook beginning of the process was the fun part; transferring a complex design onto a three dimensional fibreglass elephant was challenging. I though you might like to see the step by step progress (be grateful you can’t hear the curses or see much of the mess and mistakes!)
If you do the Elmer trail, or just spot a few of them around town, you’ll enjoy the variety of design and ingenuity. The elephants will all be there for the next eight weeks, so there’s plenty of time.
From fun art to Scilly art…
It’s the time of year when I head west with a bag full of sketching gear. This time next week I’ll be in the lovely Isles of Scilly with seven people who are joining me for an Art Safari holiday, island hopping with our sketchbooks. I love the islands and never tire of them, so hoping for fair weather for us all. In the meantime my ‘list of things to do before I go away’ is growing rather than shrinking, I’m exhibiting at Woodbridge Regatta today and the studio is a tip. I seem to spend half my time making a mess and the other half trying to clear it up again. It’s a wonder I get any time to create anything useful at all!