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Elmer’s Big Parade 2019: Expert’s tips as patchwork elephants go before judges

PUBLISHED: 07:52 03 October 2018

Elmer and her newly painted friends Elmer Armstrong and Elmer 'imagination can take you anywhere Picture: JO BEATTIE

Elmer and her newly painted friends Elmer Armstrong and Elmer 'imagination can take you anywhere Picture: JO BEATTIE


With just four weeks left to submit designs for Elmer’s Big Art Parade 2019, one of the judges gives some tips on how to be shortlisted.

Larking Gowen pose with Elmer the patchwork elphant  Picture: JO BEATTIELarking Gowen pose with Elmer the patchwork elphant Picture: JO BEATTIE

Run by St Elizabeth Hospice, the 2019 Elmer project will see artists from all over the country designing patchwork elephants to be displayed across Ipswich next summer.

It follows the success of the Pigs Gone Wild trail, which drew huge crowds to the town in 2016.

Second time panellist and graphic designer Nigel Ball is one of six people sitting on this year’s art selection panel.

Mr Ball, who is a senior lecturer in graphic design at the University of Suffolk, encourages artists to give technical examples of finishes they plan to use.

“Submissions are typically line drawings and will give us a good sense of your concept,” he said.

“I’m not personally looking for brilliantly rendered drawings, as I’m more interested in the idea.

“I will need to have a sense of what the final piece will look like and have faith in someone’s ability to create what they propose.”

The deadline for applications closes on October 31, and the hospice is expecting more than 250 submissions.

Three members of the herd of 50 elephants have already been painted by artists, including Ipswich artist Lois Cordelia – who made her name with her ‘Pig-geswyk’ sculpture for Pigs Gone Wild two years ago.

After sitting on the panel in 2016, Mr Ball knows what to expect come November.

“After being involved in shortlisting last time and then seeing the pigs in their locations, I will be more mindful this year of the presence the Elmers will have within the built environment,” he added.

“We only look at proposals on paper, so my previous experience will make it easier to create a mental picture of what different designs may look like ‘on parade’.

“As a graphic designer, the underpinning concept and context is important for me.

“I’ll be asking what the story is behind each design, over and above its decorative features. “Ultimately, whatever someone proposes I will want there to be a cohesion to the design across the entire body of Elmer.”

Mr Ball, who lives in Ipswich, said he is honoured to be asked back to help again, adding: “As well as this being fun and for a good cause, doing the shortlisting also brings with it a responsibility to Ipswich and to ensure each design will work within the town.”

The 2019 event, which coincides with both St Elizabeth Hospice’s and Elmer’s 30th anniversary, will raise significant funds towards the vital services offered by the hospice as well as recognising local artists.

More than £200,000 was collected from the Pigs Gone Wild trail and paid for a whole week of care.

The popular attraction contributed more than £1million to the local economy.

Bosses hope the 2019 extravaganza will be bigger and better than ever.

Campaign manager Norman Lloyd said: “The selection panel have a really fun, but really tricky job so we are very grateful to people like Nigel giving up their time to help us.

“We have received a good number of designs in already, and pleasingly are seeing lots more local designs this time.

“But next year’s trail is even bigger than before so we hope to see even more coming in up until the deadline of October 31.”

If you are a talented artist with a creative imagination, visit the hospice’s website to discover more and submit your design.

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