Monday, April 17, 2006

Spotted Taguas - Illustration Friday


Spotted-
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.

25 comments:

Sammisez said...

WOW! Love your illo and REALLY love the info....had no idea about the Tagua nut. What an awesome environmental alternative to ivory carvings!!!

TXArtcGal said...

Neat illustration, and great post! I love the little chick hiding out! LOL! Cute!

disappointed said...

a very robust mushroom!

the heartful blogger said...

Lovely illustration, and what a gorgeous, versatile nut!!!

the musehouse said...

Wow. Great ill. and I love the information.

Judy Scott said...

Delighful little illo, Judy x

Princess Pepper Cloud said...

outsmarted that cat... great illustration

Tony LaRocca said...

mmm! Edible sculptures!

Amy Zaleski said...

I've never heard of this type of carving before - very cool! I love the mushrooms but most of all the facial expressions of these three creatures. The worm seems a bit nervous. Lots of fun!!

Roz Foster said...

Interesting post. What a beautiful material it is--just think about it: carving milk. Neat. And I hope your little chickadee makes it through. Looks like the cat is readying himself to pounced upon a false lead. (shew.) Cute drawing.

mishka said...

Very clever! I like the expression on the chick's face. Hey we're almost-neighbors (I'm in NoVa).

IdiotHead said...

Wonderful illo. I found the Tagua Nut carving very interesting. The turtle carving shown is beautiful. I would take that anyday over real ivory. Thanks for the education.
8^)

Missus Ong said...

So cute! Love the story too!
And thank you for the kind comment you left @ my blog!

morealyera said...

I love your illustration of no one being spotted but the spotted mushroom! It's very cute and clever, too!

I have never heard of tagua nut for carvings. While ivory looks beautiful, I wouldn't consider buying anything carved from ivory, but this is an equally beautiful alternative, and environmentally friendly! Thank you for the explanation!

I'm not terribly far from you, just about an hour's drive north of Albany in the Lake George area. Small internet, huh? :)

scribblesk said...

This is so cool! I love the mean expression of the cat! Giant toadstools make great hiding places!

JacqueLynn said...

LOVE the squeezed feel of both the cat and the chick, works so well!!! And thanks for the info about the vegetable ivory-- this is totally new to me, but seems like such a great great thing. Thanks for the interesting info!!
Best Regards, Jacque

pinholeman said...

in the 70's, i was a student at The Evergreen State College in Olympia,Washington. It had (has) a rep as a hippie college. Anyway there was a guy who used to get tagua nuts. we'd make pipes to sell for a little extra money. i swear i've never met another person since i left there that even knew wahat a tagua nut even was!

neersart said...

vry nice n imaginative wrk.....

wynlen said...

Very sweet and funny illustration!
www.wynlen.no

Collin said...

Clever drawing, and the Tagua nut is quite interesting as well. Is that something that can be bought un-carved, or is it principally just finished pieces that are sold?

carla said...

I love the illustration...the food chain! I'm hoping the cat goes running off for something elese so the chick can get away. The tagua nut carving is really beautiful...what a fascinating post!

Wilnara said...

This one was funny Ellen! Great Illo! I especially love the worms expression - poor thing has no clue that the bird could care less right at that momment!

Jaimie said...

I love this! and thanks for the info. very informative!

Chrissie A said...

Charming illustration!

Ian T. said...

Last week's Icarus wasn't Spotted enough? :)

Those tagua nuts look like an extraordinary and lovely material to work with - I like that the natural texture can tempt the artist with some possible forms.

Your picture is gorgeous! I love the patient, sullen look on the cat, the posture and expression on the bird and the pose of the worm, particularly relative to the tail above it. The cropping choice is unusual, but works well. This has strong compostion and textures, and good colour choices.

Overall, I get the sense of a sculpture about this piece - nice!

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I'm a professional artist, a wife, a step-mother, grand-mother, friend, Ms. Fix-it, older sister and a daughter. A regular "person in progress!" Oh yah, and I draw alot! Copyright 2010-2012.

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