A Slow Procession of Elephants in our Foyer

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We have a HUGE collection of elephant ornaments. Oh, my, what dust collectors, you might say. Oh pooh, dust is not important. I don’t care about dust that much. I care about having something to rest my gaze on that makes me appreciate beauty.

OK, once in while I clean them all off, washing them carefully, enjoying the feel of them under my fingertips, with their smooth humps along their backs and their lovely curving trunks.

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And sometimes, as we rush past them with arms full of groceries, shucking off our shoes at the door, we might not notice them at all. But they are waiting for us, in their slow procession as they make their way, in a contented and yet dignified fashion, around the shelf in our entry . They are patient, they can wait for us to appreciate them.

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I’ve never counted how many are in our herd. I’ve got them grouped in little clans or families. The Indian elephants, proud in their lush decoration. The silly and fun grouped together for a giggle. The browns and the blacks. The ones in glazed ceramic, (of course we have a pink elephant), the stone carved ones.

Ostensibly they are all Bill’s collection. The first elephant, the little stone one on the right below, was bought, by me, from a lady in our old Calgary neighbourhood. Her basement was perpetually set up for a monthly garage sail. The myriad of stock came from elderly people who had moved into seniors residences. It was a little service she did for them to sell their pieces of extraneous possessions that they no longer had room for. This little elephant, of carved stone, was marked in neat handwriting on a tag, only as “very old”, with a price of $6.  The large one in light wood behind it, with the little parcel/pillow on it’s back is another fave.

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Since then we have both collected and added to our burgeoning collection. None is expensive, all are second hand. You may think that some are sort of sorry looking with their tusks missing, or a little gouge here or there. But it doesn’t matter much to us. Bill may replace some missing tusks with toothpicks now and then, but generally, we just enjoy them for what they are, little sculptures.

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Each sculpture has been made, I always think, patiently and lovingly by an unknown artist, giving us the gift of his or her interpretation of this beautiful and graceful animal. And maybe a lot were made for the tourist trade but each is hand done, hand carved by someone on a hot and dusty day somewhere far away. Each one a little different from the last, each one with just a bit of the artist caught in its form or painted glaze. And I am grateful for their patient talent and feel just a bit guilty at the low price I have paid for their art.

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Many of our elephants were gifts. Maybe for Father’s Day, or Christmas or a birthday, hardly any opportunity goes by to without adding another elephant to this very accommodating herd.

And as your eye has followed our little herd as it makes its way, you may have noticed a sort of confused looking giraffe that found itself in the wrong group. Or maybe you saw the tiniest little pig along for the trek. I don’t know why, they just seemed to want to be in the group too. The elephants didn’t seem to mind.

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Oh and as for that silly superstition that elephants trunks must be up for good luck… well, all those silly things are made up by someone. No basis in fact ( or fiction). So I choose to make up my own superstitions (or stupid-stitions as I like to say) and have decreed that all elephants are lucky, no matter which way their trunks are waving.

Hope you enjoy them as much as we do…

Of course, this is not our only collection.  We’ve also got a Heart box collection.  Will this collecting ever end?  I hope not, too much fun altogether.

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15 thoughts on “A Slow Procession of Elephants in our Foyer

  1. Elephant's Eye says:

    Someone in the North of England once told me that animals should face the door. Why? We have four little wooden elephants, gazing at their big brother out there. Rescued by a friend and brought to a good home ;>)

  2. Helen at Summerhouse says:

    Hi Diana, Beats me why animals should face the door, who made that up, I wonder? Our elephants are all on a trek to the inside of the house, not the door. Since I make up my own superstitions, I’ve decided that they are bringing good luck into the house. How’s that?

  3. mary-lou says:

    Oh what a great post, I love it! Thanks for sharing all your ele-friends with us, they are all very fine in their own individual way. I’m particularly fond of the rusty looking one with the short nose and blue paint.

  4. Marianne says:

    Hi,Helen. Thanks for this very interesting and beautiful set of photos of your lovely elephants!! I love them all. Wouldn’t it be fun to do an animated video of them moving along the shelf? As if you didn’t have enough to do!! Just that I can see them in my mind’s eye, the big ones moving slowly, the little ones playfully running alongside, with the piggy and the giraffe gamely along for the ride. Anyway, with them in your foyer, what a great welcome home it must be!!!

  5. Helen at Summerhouse says:

    Hi Marianne, It would be fun to animate them. Wonder how that would be done. I just imagine it all. Each one is so unique and quite a few are really superb carvings. We’ve been lucky to find them.

  6. Heidi (GippyGardener) says:

    Hello Helen, I very much enjoyed your elephant procession, right down to the pig and bemused giraffe! In my house it is owls…it seems to be a competition amongst my friends and family to find me the ugliest ones that they can lay their hands on, but I still love them all!

  7. Helen at Summerhouse says:

    Hello Heidi, Glad you enjoyed our little procession. As for the gifts, I fear that what you say may be right sometimes here too for our elephant collection. But for the most part I like our elephants. I also have a huge collection of Santas that I bring out in the season and I group all the ugly ones together sometimes. They seem to look better that way.

  8. Helen at Summerhouse says:

    Hi Susannah, There must be something special about elephants that we are attracted to. Oddly, I find ours sort of restful to look at. Will you be adding to your few elephants and end up with a heard like ours I wonder.

  9. Jen says:

    They are “darling” but I don’t want to use that word if it sounds like I am belittling them. They are amazing, it must have taken years to amass that collection.

    The wooden ones are my absolute fav.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  10. Helen at Summerhouse says:

    Hi Jen, You know you made me think…. how long have we been collecting elephants? I think we started in the late 80’s actually. So I guess it has been a long time. I do like the wooden ones too, especially the ones with bumpy heads, so stroke-able.

  11. Bill says:

    Hi,enjoyed looking at your elephants,i buy the broken ones especially african blackwood at car boot sales etc and repair them.

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