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Elmer's Big Parade Suffolk: Meet Petal the tiny elephant

PUBLISHED: 11:00 17 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:10 17 July 2019

Petal the Elmer is pride of place in Elmer's Big Parade Suffolk, in the middle of the ground floor of Ipswich County Library Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

Petal the Elmer is pride of place in Elmer's Big Parade Suffolk, in the middle of the ground floor of Ipswich County Library Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

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One special Elmer on the art trail taking over Ipswich this summer has captured the imagination of young readers at the town centre library.

Norfolk-based artist Sally Adams covered this particular Elmer in long grass and critters to create the illusion of a tiny elephant making their way through the undergrowth Picture: ELLEN HOLMESNorfolk-based artist Sally Adams covered this particular Elmer in long grass and critters to create the illusion of a tiny elephant making their way through the undergrowth Picture: ELLEN HOLMES

Petal the Elmer is one of the 138 elephants in Elmer's Big Parade Suffolk, organised by Wild in Art, taking pride of place in the centre of the ground floor of Ipswich County Library.

Designed by former propmaker Sally Adams, Petal is one of just a handful of designs to take on an entirely new shape - with its entire head transformed into an incredible flower.

"I wanted to make my Elmer unique and I was able to do so thanks to my background in prop-making," Ms Adams said.

"The Elmer is made of fibreglass and I don't like to work with that, so instead I used Jasmanite to make the petals - it's like a mouldable plaster that dries really quickly.

Grace Tallent, aged six, from Castle Hill, Ipswich, posing with the Elmer Petal at Ipswich Library Picture: JOHN TALLENTGrace Tallent, aged six, from Castle Hill, Ipswich, posing with the Elmer Petal at Ipswich Library Picture: JOHN TALLENT

"As a result it's much bigger, much brighter and completely unique.

"The elephants are on display for a long time and although they're robust they are prone to breakages, so I wanted my design to add strength."

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The design fits right at home in the library, but its appearance there was a complete stroke of luck.

The Elmers displayed in Ipswich are made of fibreglass - but prop designer Sally Adams used her preferred material, the plaster-like Jasmanite, to add the giant petals around Petal's head Picture: ELLEN HOLMESThe Elmers displayed in Ipswich are made of fibreglass - but prop designer Sally Adams used her preferred material, the plaster-like Jasmanite, to add the giant petals around Petal's head Picture: ELLEN HOLMES

Many Elmers are displayed close to the businesses that sponsor them in Ipswich but petal's sponsor, homebuilder Crest Nicholson, does not have an Ipswich office.

Ms Adams added: "I'm delighted Petal ended up in the library.

"When designs are submitted to Wild in Art we have to write a little blurb and mine explained why I hope children would use my design and their imagination to make their own stories.

"Now it's in the library, that's exactly what it can do.

"The contrast between light and dark strokes of colour create a dynamic cartoon imagery which I think will particularly appeal to children."

Elmer's Big Parade runs until September, with money raised through donations, gifts and sticker albums going to St Elizabeth Hospice.

Norman Lloyd, campaign manager at the hospice, said: "I have been really pleased to see how businesses have really stepped up to support our trail this year.

"We have some truly stunning designs and we are very proud of them all."

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