Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant — the only harmless great thing. — John Donne, English poet, 1572-1631 I’ve rambled around the world but I’ve never been on safari in the Sub-Sahara to witness majestic creatures in their own habitats. Until I achieve that dream, I’m quite capable of transforming inanimate animals into whimsical delights. I found a couple of carved elephants at the estate sale of a well-traveled couple. Here’s the Bull: He looks fine, right? But I wanted to revamp him. My elephants became willing — and I’d like to think cheerful — accomplices in the new Artisan Enhancements techniques I learned recently at my Annie Sloan stockist’s shop, Mid-Life Crisis by the Beach. I carried Lady, the smaller wooden elephant, with me. They were carved in Namibia, a south African country on the Atlantic Ocean that boasts the world’s highest sand dunes and Africa’s biggest game reserves. Their big ears identify them as African elephants and both the male and female have tusks for digging water in arid lands.
I showed Lady to Pat Stone-Smith and asked her advice. Yes, I could simply rub her down with oil but I wanted to try something new. Pat studied her and suggested using Fine Stone to create the illusion of thick, rough hide. I’ve seen images of Fine Stone pushed through a stencil, but I’ve never imagined it used as Pat was recommending. Here’s a stenciled image from Artisan Enhancements’ website: Pat mixed Paris Grey with Fine Stone and I began coating the elephant. When I set her aside to dry, Pat painted the tusks Old White and the eyes, Graphite. Lady Elephant transformed into a pièce de résistance when Pat smoothed Pearl Plaster over her. She shimmered opulently. I think a Lady Elephant deserves that. Pat took a few swipes with sandpaper for the distressed look. Later on, I undertook the conversion of Bull at home and am pleased to say he whole process didn’t take long at all. I put them in our shop at Avonlea. Won’t they make a memorable gift to an engaged couple – an elephant never forgets — or provide a charming addition to a living room, or offer steadfast friendship to a young adventurer?
Ann Marie and David
Knick of Time