Each year, Elephant Parade runs an art contest where anyone can submit their elephant design and become an Elephant Parade superstar! To enter, purchase an Artbox and get creating your perfect pattern. The first prize in the competition is your design on a full-size elephant in one of our upcoming exhibitions. That's a stunning 1.5-metre baby elephant-sized statue, which sits happily alongside its herd of elephants and tours the world raising awareness for elephant conservation.
Patricia Collins is one of Elephant Parade's 2019 Artbox winners with a striking and unique elephant, 'Patchie Indigo'. We're very excited to interview our talented winner to find out more about the inspiration and lady behind the design.
I live in a cottage in Chorleywood in the UK. I am married with three children and five grown-up grandchildren. Just yesterday, I was very flattered to be told that my granddaughter described me as "the coolest Grandma ever"!
For as long as I can remember, I have loved painting, drawing and making things. Even when I was in full-time employment, it was not enough, and I started making antique reproduction dolls as a hobby but that soon evolved into much more. After my retirement over twenty years ago, I had more time at my disposal, and I began painting on silk and experimenting with textile art. I have just started a large old rosewood elephant which was on display outside a shop in Kerala for many years. It was in a sorry state with large fissures on the body and parts of its feet missing. My husband has filled the cracks in the body and built up the feet. I am now in the process of covering it, using pieces of an old Kashmiri beaded and embroidered wall hanging. It was initially made up from recovered materials, so it's been recycled twice over.
Another of my hobbies is gardening, and my love of elephants extends even there. I own a large bronze elephant spouting water in the centre of the pond. Not something you would expect in a cottage garden!
One day I visited the local shopping precinct - something I very rarely do -and was amazed and intrigued to find the Elephant Parade there. Usually, I do my shopping and leave as quickly as possible, but that day I spent hours looking at the lovely elephants, eventually buying the beautiful Kiku. When I returned home, I could not stop thinking about the exhibition, and the next day I went back and bought two Artbox kits to paint at home. One of these became Patchie Indigo. Later on, I looked up the website, saw the competition and entered my elephant. There are two more in a drawer patiently waiting to be painted.
When painting my elephants, I thought about my holidays to Asia and the beautiful fabrics, temples and palaces I have seen. Plenty of inspiration there for painting more elephants!
It was quite strange to paint onto the elephant body shape rather than a flat surface, but perhaps having already painted dolls faces helped. Patchie Indigo was a little tricky as the hexagonal shapes of the patches had to fit around the curves, but it was interesting!
I love all elephants real or otherwise, and my home is full of them. Not real ones, of course! I have been lucky enough to see wild elephants in Borneo and in a wonderful sanctuary in Kerala where no touching or elephant rides are allowed — only looking. They care for ill-treated and injured elephants and also orphaned babies abandoned in the wild. I am very aware of the ill-treatment of many captive elephants and try to make others aware. Some are hired out for events and forced to work morning, afternoon and evening. Small wonder they occasionally become angry and aggressive. However, it seems things are improving. In Kerala, I believe it is now illegal for any elephant to work after 5 pm. It's a start, and hopefully, things will continue to improve. These beautiful and intelligent animals should not be exploited and forced to perform in such an undignified way.
Possibly, artists observe the beauty of nature, both fauna and flora, more than some others. Maybe it helps to point things out to some people who are less aware.