Friday, 27 September 2013

Elephant No. 25: Sunflower Stars


"Sunflower stars" sounds like something sparkly and pretty, but alas it's just a bunch of plastic things you snap together.

I bought this container of 36 pieces at the dollar store on a whim last week, with no idea how—or if—I could make a credible elephant from them. Note that these ones are called "Snowflake Building Blocks", but I don't care to speak of snow quite yet.

I started by snapping a bunch of pieces together for a body. From a certain angle, it looked a bit like an internal combustion engine, but at least it provided a solid core to work with.

After this, I snapped pieces on and off the body, cursed when the whole thing—except the body—collapsed into a pile, and generally wondered why this is a toy for children. Or maybe you need to be an actual child to work with these.

Eventually I figured out something that looked at least a little like an elephant, held my breath, and asked it to pose. This particular elephant declined to "work it" for the camera—which is just as well, given how likely it was to fall apart.

This was a relatively quick elephant to make—which is always a bonus—but I didn't find this particular snap-together toy as accommodating as I would have liked. On the other hand, it's colourful and reasonably cute. And it's not permanent, which is also a bonus.

Elephant Lore of the Day
Earlier this week, I told the story of Thiruvambadi, the festival elephant. In that post, I mentioned that he'd been purchased in 2002 for $60,000. Although good festival elephants are more expensive these days, they still can't beat the price commanded for a Richard Avedon photograph of elephants.

Photographer friend Neil Robertson sent me a note a couple of days ago about the photograph below, featuring two unnamed elephants and the model Dovima. Taken in 1955, the photograph sold at auction in November 2010 for a whopping $1,151,976, far exceeding its pre-sale estimate of $500,000–$800,000. 

Ironic that an elephant is worth more in a fashion photograph than it is in real life. 

For more on elephants in fashion, see the elephant lore in this post from my original Elephant a Day blog.

Dovima with Asian elephants, Cirque d'Hîver, Paris, 1955.
Photo: Richard Avedon

To Support Elephant Welfare
Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary (Thailand)
Wildlife SOS (India) 
The Elephant Sanctuary (Tennessee)

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

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