Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Elephant Parade - art inspired craft

When we were on our fabulous holiday at Martinhal in Portugal (you can read all about our amazing trip here), we were lucky enough to catch the last few days of a touring exhibition.

The 'Passion' exhibition was a collection of 18 large-scale elephant sculptures, each uniquely decorated by an individual artist, to represent their collective passions.



This outdoor cultural feast really inspired Ruby as she chased around the resort trying to spot them all and discussed each one, trying to work out her favourite.



There was also an interactive sculpture on the central square which children were invited to add their hand prints to in exchange for a small donation to charity.


I loved the accessibility and approach to art at Martinhal and it really sparked Ruby's enthusiasm.  So much so that I agreed to her repeated requests to try and reproduce the sculptures (on a much smaller scale obviously!) when we got back home.

It became something of a labour of love, with lots of stages and drying time, but it was lovely to have a project that we could keep coming back to, and watch the progress as it developed.

I can't take credit for the milk bottle elephants - that has been around for a while, but it fit our purpose perfectly.  Simply cut the top section of a plastic milk carton just below the bottom of the handle (this forms the trunk).  Then cut out semi-circular shapes to form the legs and re-use two of these off-cuts to trim down to make the ears.  Finally, cover in papier mache of newspaper and watered-down PVA.





Ruby quickly decided that the preparation stage was toooo boring, and could I please let her know when it was time to decorate them.  I can't say I blame her really, I'm the same with DIY. Filling; sanding and priming? Pfft. Gimme a shout when it's time for colour charts and scatter cushions.

Just like the exhibition, we made each elephant unique, with Ruby deciding on different methods of decoration and embellishment.  First, each one was painted with a background colour.  If you're going to try this, I'd recommend getting some proper acrylic paints as they covered so much better and gave a better finish than poster paints.


More waiting between coats, and finally they were ready to decorate.  Time for Ruby's favourite activity - sticking!!






Now they're all done, we're having fun moving them around the house, and finding different locations for them to brighten up.




We LOVE our sculptures.  Our favourite is the shell one -we've named her Michelle (geddit?).  Covered in seashells we collected on the beach, this might not be the most aesthetically pleasing one of the bunch, but it's a fabulous lasting reminder of our wonderful holiday.


Why don't you have a go at your own elephant parade - you may never throw another milk carton in the recycling bin again!

29 comments:

  1. We love doing this, if you use different colour tissue squares you can make an Elmer!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jen, yes we made an Elmer last year, he was lovely!

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  2. Oh wow - those elephant sculptures are fantastic - how lucky to be in the right place at the right time! Simply beautiful :-)

    Jem xXx

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    1. Hi Jem, yes the exhibition was amazing. We saw a similar one in London a couple of years back, but it was great having it over a smaller location as you really got the chance to see them all. x

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  3. Oh my goodness! How ADORABLE!! And love the link you made to the elephant parade! YAY YOU! (and am jealous, want to have made and written this post myself! Ha!)

    Maggy

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    Replies
    1. Wow, that is praise indeed from you. Thanks Maggy x

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  4. These are beautiful. My girls did some and stuck coloured squares over ro make Elmers xxx

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, yes, we love Elmer too x

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  5. That final elephant photo (in the Village Square) has a lot more handprints on it than in May, when I was there. It's looking very colourful. Did you get to visit all of them or just a few?

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  6. Thanks for dropping by!!

    Yes, I think the elephant is pretty much covered with handprints.

    We managed to tick 17 of the 18 off the list, and saw them being packed away and loaded up on trucks on their last day - a pretty bizarre sight!

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  7. This is SO fab! We saw most of a similar elephant parade when it was in London and the boys loved spotting them. If I have the strength I will have to give this a try with them. I like bejewelled Ellie the best xx

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    1. Thanks Lakota. It was fun to do, albeit spread over a few weeks! Perfect for the summer hols and a great way to show off things you've collected like dried flowers, stickers, bottle tops...whatever! x

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  8. Such a cool post! Love how you've moved them around the house too!!

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  9. Thanks! They're always on the move, never know where they'll turn up next...

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  10. love the shell one - must be a 'keeper'

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    1. Thank you. Yes, I don't think I'll get away with 'recycling' these anytime soon!

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  11. Oh wow, these are amazing - I'll never look at a milk bottle in the same way again. And doesn't Ruby look gorgeous and so grown up with her new haircut?

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  12. Your elephants are fantastic! Wow!!!! My kids would love them, I especially like the red one :-)

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  13. PS Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!

    Maggy

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  14. Wow, this is absolutely fantastic, have to give it a go with Isabelle. She will love it, thank you ;)))

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  15. The elephants came out beautifully! That is so great that it was inspired by the elephant art that you saw on your trip. I hope you will stop by and link this post (and any other arts, crafts and play posts) to Artsy Play Wednesday on Capri + 3. The weekly linky is currently open.

    : 0 ) Theresas
    http://www.multiples-mom.com

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  16. I absolutely love these! So gorgeous and look perfect featured in any room! I don't normally comment just read your updates in my inbox, but I was so impressed with these! x

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  18. Wow! Ruby is truly amazing to be able to make that elephant sculpture! Your trip to Martinhal in Portugal really inspired her. All of it resemble the elephant works of art you saw in Martinhal. Maybe she would be so happy when she gets to meet a real elephant.

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  21. We love these so much! Thanks for linking up to #getyourcrafton for the #ZooCrafts - wonderful! :)

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