The Elephants are Saved!

   by Nicole Jakaby and Nicole and Tom Jakaby for Build A Dream (2014)

I used the box to create the "diorama" which is a living room in a home. I painted the inside of the box to look like walls and wood floor. I covered the tempered hardboard with a layer of modeling clay, then painted it with brown oil painted and scratched the surface with a fork to give the look of a carpet. I made a big chair out of cardboard and styrofoam and covered it with the canvas cloth. I made a table out of the base for the mannequin and the small wood dowel, and made a tablecloth out of the canvas cloth. I painted the tablecloth with acrylic paint. I made two sconces out of half of the blue egg, painting the inside white. I made a lamp out of half of the aluminum rod wrapped with the aluminum wire set on one of the wood discs for a base, and a lampshade out of wire mesh covered with plaster cloth wrap. I covered the mannequin with the clay after changing the clay color with paint. I made a shirt out of canvas cloth. I made an elephant head by making a mold with the wire mesh from an elephant head I already had, covered it with the plaster cloth wrap, and painted it, and carved the tusks from the styrofoam. I made a window frame out of the large square dowels. I made a flatscreen TV by painting the image on the canvas board and mounted it to the wall with two pieces of large square dowel. I cut off the metal supporting the mannequin to within an inch of the "butt" to use to insert it into a hole made in the chair to hold the girl upright. I used some wooden dowels and aluminum wire to attach and support the elephant head in the window. I made a background for the elephant head by painting it on the card stock paper and I glued pieces of the sponge that I painted green to look like bushes to the paper. I made a little newspaper out of another piece of the stock paper.

I traveled to Africa several years ago and seeing the animals living peacefully in the wild left indelible images in my mind - I will never be the same. Since then I am always looking for ways to help protect wild animals so that people everywhere can enjoy them the way I did - alive, uncaged. Because of the recent alarming increase in elephant poaching, they have become my highest priority. This is my dream, to assure the survival of all species, especially elephants. I see this project as a sort of catharcis. I feel like I'm helping in my small way. And if I win something, I can use that to help the elephants as well.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to do this project. Not only did it help me let out some of my pent-up feelings, but it also let me use my creativity in new unexpected ways. I really enjoyed experimenting with new materials and having to use things in different ways. It was really a lot of fun and without the deadline, I may not have done it. Thanks!