Thursday, September 26, 2013

Elephants on the move

The Intu National Tour is on the move.The Elephant Parade's latest herd of decorated elephants began their long journey at Intu Watford in July and will be on the road around the UK until July 2014. They are currently at the Intu Gateshead Metrocentre until 13th October.

It's many months since I started the design process for my elephant 'The Butterfly Effect' which began back in February this year.When I was asked to come up with a design on the theme of Joy, butterflies with their huge array of colours and the feeling of freedom they symbolise, seemed a perfect choice.
The Elephant Parade organisation feel it is important whilst raising funds, to also raise awareness of Asian elephant conservation. I hope that by using nature in my elephant designs to highlight the beauty that exists in the natural world, this encourages the public to think about how important it is to preserve the natural habitat of the elephant.

Design sketch for 'The butterfly effect'

When I decided to cover my elephant in an explosion of colourful butterflies I also wanted to put across the message that we can all do our bit for conservation no matter how small our contribution. I have always been a great believer in the power of the individual as part of bigger effort and after all 1000 people giving a £1 contribution is worth the same as one £1000 contribution!
The expression 'the butterfly effect' came to mind and although I can't claim to know anything about the chaos theory, this phrase has come to represent the idea that a small gesture ... like the tiny flap of a butterfly's wing on one side of the world, can have a knock on effect that is significantly bigger on the far side of the world as it gathers momentum.

I deliberately chose butterflies from all over the planet to represent the international importance of animal conservation. Choices we make in the west have a direct impact on the Asian economy which can lead to changes in the natural habitat of the Asian elephant.
I visited the butterfly farm at Studley Grange to take photographs for inspiration. In total there are 19 butterflies on my elephant, plus a butterfly orchid!

Orange Lacewing at Studley Grange

Marpesia from South America

It has been very rewarding to see people enjoying the elephant parade tour as it travels the UK and helps raise funds and awareness in the fight to save the endangered Asian elephant.

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