Sunday, December 26, 2010

Donkeys from Cork

Donkey ornament from wine corks
OK, who said that there are some Christmas tree ornaments out there that are UGLY!  I think that it must have been some journalist who was trying to get attention because newspaper sales are down and the best way to get noticed is to "dis" on everything and sound "funny". I know that some people think that lawn ornaments are ugly.  I say that it depends on the lawn ornament and the viewer and the neat story behind the ornament.

I did a post a few years ago on pink flamingos and the demise of their creator.  Here's the link.  I have come to love pink flamingos.

I also remember taking an art class from an off-beat art teacher - this is redundant, I know. What art teacher isn't "off-beat?"  We were to create lawn ornaments and we had a discussion of lawn ornaments.  I suggested that there were a lot of grottoes in front lawns in ethnic areas of Toronto that could be considered lawn ornaments - I got the 3 or 4 eyed stare - art teachers are good at this. So I went on to create lawn ornaments that I thought wouldn't get that stare - art is still very compromised - but, I needed a pass!  I actually created 8 wooden cats - I'll get them out this spring and take pictures! Then I realized that cats are also very good at that 3 or 4 eyed stare - alas - damned if you do and damned if you don't!
Mini nativity from Jean Greenhowe

Now back to those ornaments. So this article made me think of some of the ornaments that I put on the tree every year, many made by my kids, as the Friday afternoon craft\art project. These are not as glitzy as the store bought ones and I am not sure why I put them up, year after year.  Sentiment? maybe - but I have been know to dispatch a stuff toy that was just too grungy to keep - Hexes? - if I get rid of it will it come back on me - the stuffed animal has, too many times - Fixedness? - if we change something will our world fall apart?

So I took a really close look at the ornaments.  Those from mother-in-law stayed - these were her spirit with us - my mother didn't "do" ornaments. The origami ones from the box of Christmas origami given to my son as a gift stayed - the friend is now back in NZ - but she is with us through the ornaments. This and that stayed, while this and that was chucked; but somehow I couldn't throw out the wine cork donkey.

My now 28-year-old made this in grade 3 when he was 8.  I have always been fascinated by the fact that a grade 3 teacher of 30-40 odd students - was able to collect 200 to 300 wine corks (7 or 8- per donkey, maybe. He's missing his tail - plus spares) - hey, why should I be surprised - you would need something to come into a classroom of 30 - 40 kids everyday.

Felted ornaments from Fiber Trends
Anyway - here he is Jing-a-lay-o or something.  It reminds me of a conversation that I had once with Graeme Greenhowe - Jean Greenhowe's son. Jean created the first knitted nativity scene; but many who knit it said that she was missing the donkey and so they published a mini nativity scene with a knitted donkey.  I didn't tell him at this point that they were also missing the camel. Will that be one hump or two?

Dinner, well now that front yards are being turned into vegetable gardens, and the whole of Toronto and other cities, towns and villages will become "cabbagetowns," or "corktowns," so named because the poor Irish that settled there in the late 1800's planted vegetable gardens - mainly cabbage - to help them eke out an existence. I think that it should be something with cabbage. Actually the vegetarian offering on the menu at a restaurant that I went to the other night was stuffed Swiss Chard leaves.  It sounded very delicious.  Can I do cabbage rolls even if it isn't Irish? - my grandmother was German.

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