Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Elephant No. 51: Fridge Magnets

We have a lovely stainless steel refrigerator, which usually features drawings from my artist friends. Today, however, I thought I'd put my own art up there in the form of elephant-themed fridge magnets.

For this project, I bought three sheets of glitter magnet material. I'd never heard of this stuff before, but when I was in a dollar store yesterday, there it was.

I began by sketching out my ideas on paper.

Next, I drew some similar elephants onto the back of the purple magnet sheet with a simple HB pencil. For some reason, I thought I'd end up with elephants that would face one another, but I ended up with two elephants going in the same direction. I'm clearly not very good at mirror-thinking.

After this, I simply cut them out with a sharp pair of scissors. After I'd cut out the elephants, I laid them out on the back of the blue magnetic sheet—with both black sides facing up—and sketched in the water. I cut out the water sprays, then cut some grasses out of the green magnetic sheet.

I gave my fridge a quick swipe with a stainless steel cleaner called "Sheila Shine"—yes, there really is such a thing—which my mother bought me as a joke. This gave me a fresh canvas for my magnets.

Because I made everything modular, I can play with them—kind of like those felt boards we used to have as kids. The glitter side of the magnet attracts the black side, so you can also overlap to your heart's content.

I liked this because it was quick, easy and inexpensive. The magnet sheets each cost only $1.50, so I got all this fun for under five dollars. They're not the most powerful magnets in the world, but who cares when it makes the fridge sparkle even more than Sheila Shine?

Elephant Lore of the Day
Arc de Triomphe, pah! Why not an elephant instead?

In 1758, French architect Charles Ribart drew up a spectacular addition to the Champs-Elysées. Slated for construction on the site of today's Arc de Triomphe, Ribart's elephant had three levels, accessible via a spiral staircase in the elephant's belly.

Even more interesting, the elephant was designed to contain opulent rooms with furniture that folded into the  walls, as well as a rudimentary form of air-conditioning, and drainage via the elephant's trunk.

Less than enchanted with Ribart's plans, the French government turned him down. Sadly, little of Ribart's work survives today, and his name is barely known outside of architectural circles.

This was not, however, the last to be heard of monumental elephants in the French capital. Decades after Ribart, Napoleon Bonaparte commissioned the Elephant of Revolutionary Oblivion, which stood in the Place de la Bastille until it eventually fell apart and became a home for rats. Similarly, the Moulin Rouge once had a large elephant in its back garden containing a luxury suite where, for a single franc, gentlemen could be wined and dined and entertained by belly dancers.

Charles Ribart's ill-fated design for a triumphal elephant on the

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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