Sunday, 18 January 2015

Elephant No. 107: Matchbox Elephant

I first encountered little matchbox animals about a year ago when looking for kids crafts, and thought it might be fun to try one sometime. I assumed it would be a bit fussy to make, so I waited until I had a bit of extra time to put it together.

I started by buying some small boxes of matches. I was originally going to try with a big box of matches, but I thought it might be more interesting to make a really tiny elephant.

Because the matchbox is ugly, I started by painting it with acrylic paint.

The idea with these seems to be to place a small animal under a little quilt, as though the matchbox is a bed. I decided to make the elephant first, and used needlefelting, because I thought it would be something I could do relatively quickly.

I began by making the head.

For the body, instead of making a grey elephant and then putting pyjamas over top, I decided to make the body as pyjamas. To finish the elephant, I added little grey feet. Sadly, they were too small for me to add toenails.

Along the way, I kept testing the elephant's size to make sure it would fit.

It's awfully cute on its own, but it's supposed to be in a matchbox bed, so I needlefelted a little fuzzy blanket and pillow.

And voilà. I really like this guy. It took way less time than I thought it would, and the final results appeal to the miniaturist in me. 

Elephant Lore of the Day
This is one of the strangest stories I've ever read about an elephant.

In March 2014, in India's West Bengal province, a rampaging bull elephant crashed into a village seeking food. This elephant was well known to local forest rangers, and had already destroyed 17 houses in the district.

At 8:00 p.m. that evening, Dipak and Lalita Mahato were eating when they suddenly hear a loud cracking sound, followed by crash of rubble in their nearby bedroom. They rushed into the room to find a large male elephant standing over their baby. Debris from the wall and ceiling lay all around the little girl, who was whimpering.

Seemingly perturbed, the elephant began to back away. Astonishingly, as soon as the little girl began to cry again, the elephant moved forward. It began carefully removing all of the debris from the child, while gently patting her with its trunk. Once the debris was gone and the child stopped crying, the elephant backed out of the house and returned to the forest. The child was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.

There are a number of explanations for the elephant's behaviour, but the most likely relates to an elephant's innate programming. Elephants are highly social creatures with a great tenderness for the weakest and smallest members of their herds. Although this elephant's behaviour is more common among females, all elephants will react to sounds of distress. A crying human child is no different, in an elephant's eyes, than an elephant calf.

Asian bull elehant.
Photo: Yathin S. Krishnappa
Source: The Independent

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