Monday, 2 February 2015

Elephant No. 122: Clothespin Critters

Although I've painted clothes-peg elephants and once tried (unsuccessfully) to make an elephant by attaching spring-loaded clothespins to one another, I like this version of clothespin art much better.

I was reminded of this idea in Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids, but I'd seen it before. The concept involves simply folding a piece of paper in half, cutting out an animal shape (keeping the fold intact), decorating both sides, then clipping on clothespins for legs. For a great tutorial on a more elaborate clothespin animal, click here.

Clothespin animals
Source: PSXO

I had two kinds of wooden clothespins, so I decided to make an elephant using each.

The first thing I did was gauge the size of elephant I could make using each type of clothespin. The only thing you need to do after this is draw an elephant shape (without its legs, of course) and colour it in any way you like. To make the elephants sturdy enough to avoid flopping over, I used artist-quality bristol board.

I made these two. Usually the instructions say to colour both sides of the design, but I only had time to do one side of each. I used permanent markers in various colours, just for fun.

Once the designs were done, I cut them out and clipped the clothespins to the bottom. Most sources use only two clothespins, even for four-legged animals. I decided the elephants looked better with four.

I like the fact that I have a big elephant and a little elephant, and I like the highly unrealistic colours. Best of all, this was really simple, and would be a great activity for young children.

Elephant Lore of the Day
In 1886, James A. Byrne was commissioned by the Denver Soap Company to sculpt what was surely the largest bar of soap ever made.

Using 7,000 pounds of Denver Best Soap, Byrne created a life-sized elephant as the centrepiece of an exhibition promoting Colorado industry. As the Rocky Mountain News described the elephant:
[It] is a very perfect model and represents an elephant of unusually large size. The ears, trunk, tusks, sides, legs and feet are all wonderfully like those of the [animal]. The expression of the eye and the general contour of the forehead and head is excellent.
There is little other information on whether it was an Asian or African elephant, nor how large it actually was. The trading card below commemorates the elephant, but hopefully it looked better than this.

The elephant cost a total of $300, which in today's dollars is equivalent to about $7,410.

Commemorative card for life-sized soap elephant.
Denver Soap Company, 1886
Source: eBay

To Support Elephant Welfare

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