Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cloth kameelperd.

I saw the giraffe photographed above while on a game drive in Swaziland; he watched us intently over the brambles of an acacia, flicking his purple tongue and dark eyelashes. I've always found inspiration in the forms of certain animals, and I find giraffes in particular to be rather handsome. I usually like the way Afrikaans describes the creatures of Africa, but the Afrikaans word for giraffe is kameelperd, or camel-horse, a composite that hardly captures the awkward beauty of these strange creatures.
I found this cloth kameelperd at a craft-stand on Phra Arthit, here in Bangkok. The craft woman had a table packed with hand-sewn monkeys, water buffalo, kangaroos, and dinosaurs, but I was drawn to this giraffe for its blank expression and neon pattern. Judging from the number of giraffes I've spotted on design blogs lately, I know I'm not the only one bringing a giraffe into my home. While they aren't likely to displace birds or owls as the new style animal, giraffes seem to be featured in a lot of design pieces lately, from hip clothing, to kitsch wall decor, to stylish lamps. Though I've always been inspired by them, I can't help but wonder what makes them such appealing creatures for design. In part, there seems to be a parallel in their pattern of blotchy spots, and the current trend for ornate patterned wallpaper- a point touched upon in these wall decals. Beyond that, I can only imagine that some designers see the same inelegant beauty in these creatures that I do. That through all of their faults, their knobby knees, sloping shoulders, and bulging eyes, they have a strange, unbalanced charm.

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