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Friday, July 11, 2008

Green elephants!

I promised you a green elephant and here it is. You waited a long time.
It was a lot faster to tat the green elephant than to write this post so I hope you enjoy it.
I was pleasantly suprised at the response to my elephants and Dublin post, so many of you collect elephants and regard them with so much affection.....I suppose that's not suprising they are amazing.

Do I here you asking 'Why a green elephant?' Well the answer is partly that it's a topiary elephant and partly that it's 'green' in a 'save the planet' context!

The thread is my own hand dyed stuff. It was supposed to resemble box (Buxus) most commonly used for wasn't quite as good as I would have liked but I wanted to do this this year not when I reached perfection!!

A little bit of trunk variation from Inga Madsens wonderful pattern.

So now you should be wondering why a topiary elephant can help save the planet...or the elephants that live on it at least.

The story begins earlier this year when two Americans (Topiary Joe) flew over to the small West Cork town of Clonakilty to build a herd of life size elephants.
The three dimensional elephants are made of a steel frame made from recycled cars and covered in plastic topiary. the local community helped with the cladding and painting.
The herd consists of 13 elephants, the leader Tusker is 11 ft tall and he is followed by a range of adults and babies.

They began their tour in May in Inchydoney,West Cork, perched on a headland looking out to sea and must have looked splendid.

The Survival Tour came from an idea by the conservation charity called Elephant Family and the Royal Parks Foundation and The World Land Trust.
The aim is to raise funds to help to purchase a 6.5km by 1.5 area in Kerala in India which connects two key pockets of forest. It will provide a safe migratory route for up to 3,000 Asian elephants. The loss of so many forested areas in India may well lead to the extinction of the elephants, tigers and other animals that are teetering on the edge of extinction.

The tour takes in Dublin (in the Pheonix Park),then to England to Windsor, Royal Parks in London, Selfridges department store in London then back to Ireland to an arts and music festival in Co Laois and finally in September they move to Brighton, England.

Before we had chance to see them in West Cork, just as we were about to go on holiday we heard that they had come to our Wildlife Park at Fota for just two days.

No time to spare but I had to see these elephants and I was not disappointed, there they were under the large trees in the middle of the park.

This is me just to give you an impression of the size (and yes I am wearing blue!)and this isn't even the largest elephant.

The babies were delightful.

We don't have any elephants in our Wildlife Park, each 'zoo' in Ireland specialises in breeding certain animals. So it was super to see the elephants with the other animals in the back ground, our giraffes, zebras and ostriches.

The alpaca herd like so many of the animals are free to wander in the park and were not impressed by the elephants.

Too many photos I know but it was hard to choose.

Take a closer look ot the plastic clover like foliage on this display.

The photo album showed the construction of the elephants.

With a lot of help from photoshop here is my tatted impression of the topiary elephant herd.

More info and super photos of the Survival Tour are here and here for a fabulous flickr slide show.

Meanwhile in the Wildlife park it was just another day for the animals.
We have a large breeding population of cheetahs.

We also breed European Bison, some of which have recently been returned to Poland to the wild.

We have recently had a baby pure Rothschild's Giraffe born. Most giraffes in captivity are hybrids.

You can just see the elephant herd in the background.

Hope you enjoyed this little peep into the world of green elephants!


  1. Save The Planet context or not, it is only fitting that the Emerald Isle has a green elephant or two. He's lovely!

    And the giraffes! Rothchild's are my favorite species. There's just something about their spots that touches my heart. I love them so. At the Detroit Zoo (which is not too far from me), a limited number of patrons are allowed to go up on a platform each day and feed the giraffes by hand. It's really quite amazing to see them up close and personal! I do believe it's time to attempt Inga's giraffe this weekend.

  2. What neat elephant topiary garden...even if they are plastic...LOL! That looks like a neat wild animal park.Thanks for sharing your visit.

  3. I don't know what to say. This is a wonderful post and well worth waiting for. You know how dear elephants are to me. This almost made me cry just looking at them, not to mention what we as a people are doing to them. Thank you so much for sharing and never too many pictures! I wish I could see them in person!
    Your tatted elephant is wonderful and the thread is perfect!

  4. I love this post....I mean elephants and tatting together.
    Ahhhhh! It doesn't get much better than this!

  5. The elephants are neat. You gotta wonder how someone learns how to make a herd of elephants. I like your green elephants too.

  6. Thank you for sharing so many wonderful pictures! How ever do they transport those lovely works of art? Your version is picture perfect... I may have to look at that elephant pattern this afternoon.

  7. Thank you all for your great comments. they make my day.
    Steph that would be cool to feed a giraffe. Inga's giraffe is great and so is Jane's. They are here in my blog

    TattingChic Fota is just the best wildlife park ever.

    TattyCat maybe we should send 'the Survival Tour ' to America.
    The thread actually doesn't look too bad!

    Victats I guess these people make topiary models of lots of animals for public places..should be some in America too as they are Americans.

    Diane yes it must be some feat transporting them and they only came to Fota for 2 days. It would be fun to see them taken over to England on the ferry.

    Hope you all looked at the slide show, his pictures are fab.

  8. Hi Pam
    I throughly enjoyed your pictures of the elephants and the story you told. I also loved looking at the other animals that Ireland is breeding to save the species. The elephant poses were adorable. And I love the green dyed thread you did. It looks like a bright and cheery green. Thank you for taking the time to show us here in the states and elsewhere such cool things.

  9. Hi Pamela, I thoroughly enjoyed your pictures and post about the elephant topiary and your green tatted elephants. Thank you for also posting the link to see how they constructed the topiary elephants. I wondered how that was done. How I would love to visit Fota. Have you heard how the tour is doing raising the monies they need to purchase the land?

    I think the color green you made your HDT looks great!! What will you do with your heard of tatted elephants? Maybe you could get them to hang it up at Fota? Has anyone at Fota ever seen your tatted displays of their park & animals? I remember the last one you did with Giraffes, Flamingos, Penguins, & Merekats, it was wonderful too. If they haven't seem your tatted pictures, they should.

  10. Thanks Sherry and Carol, well yes the green thread is growing on me!
    No I have no idea how the fund raising is going, we will probably hear after the end of the tour.

    Ooops! I have to be honest and admit that there really is only ONE green elephant, all the rest are just a figment of my imagination. I will have to print out the picture tho'.

    No the wildlife park haven't actually seen the animals I have tatted, the exhibitions that they have been in have been in Fota House next to the Park and part of the original estate. One day maybe... I have to add my green elephant to my display board now, and take off the meercats.

    Maybe I will make another display board of Dublin Zoo as they have meercats and elephants.

  11. Hi Pam, you did such a fantastic job on the elephant topiary garden! It is a great story, and thanks for all the photos, it's certainly a picture is worth a thousand words.

  12. Ohhhh!!! There is a picture of Cheetahs and so many of them. Aren’t they majestic? How I love to have a glimpse of them.

    And I so love the elephants you've created... it looks like a lovely tatted portrait. Such lovely animals, makes me want to visit our local zoo…. I haven’t been there in a long time.

  13. Wow -- what an interesting post! Aside from anything else, I so like looking at your tatting (whether green elephant or no) because it's so even and precise. Gives me a goal to strive toward

  14. Come on, Marty you don't need a goal, you tatting is fab' already, that doiley was superb. I save YOUR tatting in my 'Marty' folder!!

    Spana yes, the cheetahs are wonderful, don't often manage a photo thro' the wire mesh that is in front of them tho'!

    They are very lazy in captivity if their food comes to them so we have a new cheetah run to make them work for their food. The project is called 'enrichment'.

    Thanks Singtatter, it's so much fun to be able to make a picture out of just one tatted piece, saves such a lot of effort!!

  15. Pamela, you are so kind. I don't post the crummy ones or the ones with dots of glue on 'em! Of course, we are all our own harshest critics. It's just that your tatting is especially appealing to me -- I want to touch it!

  16. Wow Marty, that's some compliment, thanks, you can come and touch my tatting anytime!!
    Hope you enjoy your trip.


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