Monday, April 17, 2006
Spotted Taguas - Illustration Friday
This little ckicky is trying not to be spotted by the cat as the worm comes up for air and is startled by the sight of a bird! He also hopes he isn't spotted. All taking place under and around the spotted mushroom.
Below you will see my inspiration for this cartoon. I use to talk about the alternative to ivory, tagua nut, as art form in my environmental education classes.
TAGUA NUT CARVINGS- A VEGETABLE IVORY
It is a type of coconut seed that comes from the palm tree (Phytelepas Equatorialis) in Ecuador, South America. The coconut's milk solidifies, then is set out to dry under the sun for 4-7 months. It is then as hard as ivory and can be carved. Each fruit of about 25 pounds contains 4 to 9 seeds (or nuts) about the size of a hen's egg. Natives that raise these trees do not cut down the rain forests anymore because these trees are now a source of income. These nuts are hand carved and accented with inlaid wood, tagua shell powder, coconut powder and shell. The caramel colored pieces have been deep fried to achieve this color. Often a small spot of brown nut is left on an otherwise all white carving so it is not mistaken for elephant ivory by customs officials.
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