Saturday, October 07, 2006

Pimmie Parrots - Contemporary Folk Art Toys

Pimmie Parrots are a recent addition to the Flying Star Toy family. They form part of my Contemporary Folk Art range of toys.

Pimmie Parrots take their inspiration from Mexican Folk Art Owls. A few years ago I stumbled upon a beautiful ceramic owl shaped like an arch and simply painted in a folk art style in the front and on the back an elaborate floral pattern reminiscent of rich textiles. He lives as a hall guardian marking the boundary between the front, public part of the house and the private rooms beyond. At the time I had know idea where my owl was made until I happened on two coincidence: firstly, I was walking to Eckersley's art supply on Edward Street when I saw a hairdressers window filled will owls, among them was huge version of my owl along with a few similar but of a different style, this told me that they must have been made in fairly larger numbers. Not long after I found a rather battered owl at a market, it was of one of the other variety I had seen in the hairdresser's window and on inspecting its base found it to be made in Mexico. Now I knew their origin.

Since then I have occasionally searched for more images of them on eBay and have found a surprising array of them. Below is one of these photos; two white owls in more of an egg like shape with very crude yet delightful painting; most of the Mexican Folk Art owls are much more elaborate and yet have similar beak protrusion and curved lines around the large eyes. You can see this in the Pimmie Parrots too. More images of Mexican Folk Art owls and a Japanese wooden Folk Art owl can be seen in my flikr stream.

Ever since I brought my owl home I have had it in the back of my mind to create a fabric version of some kind. Last month I finally had the space and time to try, but a very interesting thing happened....

My owl became a parrot. When I come to think about it it wasn't at all strange at all. Here in Sandgate Brisbane we are very near large areas of bush land and we share our days with the call of the parrots species of Cockatoo, Galah, and Rainbow Lorikete. They sport around the house feeding on the flower nectar or roam the sky in big white flocks that scream and spit out seed husks and drop flowers in their rampage, or snuggle with their life-partner in the late afternoon. As Folk Art reflects the place in which it is born, it was with a natural and yet unseen hand that their final form was guided from owl to parrot.

But there is also a more personal side to this story. I have dedicated these toys to my grandfather, Archibald Walmsley. When my sister and I were younger we spent all of our holidays with my mother's parents. Poppy had a special friend, his dark blue budgerigar whom he called Pimmie. I remember his care and thoughtfulness for Pimmie; how he would take us into the garden and show us the thistle leaves to pick and just how to wedge then into the cage so Pimmie could eat them without them falling out of the cage. Later I had my own blue budgerigar call Bluey and that tender care was passed on to me. When considering the name for these toys I remembered dear Pimmie; and so Pimmie Parrots were born.

Pimmie Parrots are cloth art toys. Handmade and hand painted using artist quality pigment ink, each one unique and orginal. Backed with two varieties of designer fabrics, they range in size from 30cm to 5cm and are weighted to stand upright without support.


mb said...

wow! i think you should have aFlying Star teaparty soon so all the FSU inhabitants can meet each other and subsequently plot world imagination domination

modmom said...

those owls + minicats are so wonderful!
i'm very impressed ff!
great photography + type styles too!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Pimmie Parrots are a wonderful creation; most charming, and very intricate.

Here are a few examples of 'two-cow economy jokes' that you asked about in my comments:

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty time the milk. You then create clever cow cartoon images called Cowikimon and market them worldwide.

You have two cows.
You reengineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

You have two cows, but you don't know where they are... You break for lunch.

You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 12 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

You have 5000 cows, none of which belong to you. You charge others for storing them.

Florence said...

MB, if only!

ModMom, thanks for your encouragement :)

Captain, hahahhaahha Can you believe I have never heard these 'two cow economy' jokes?! very funny :D I wonder what the Australian version would be?


Anonymous said...

OMG those are gorgeous. They remind me of Ookpik

that's so cool.

love and hugs
merly - partied way too muchthis weekend I just can't do these late nights any more but it was so worth it

dani (pyglet) said...

pimmies are gorgeous...just lovely!

Florence said...

Merly, Ookpik sounds so cute too. I looked it up, its a pity there wasn't a picture of what an Ookpik toy looks like because they sound really sweet and a bit odd at the same time, and I like that :)

So glad you had a big night out! Did you dance the night away? :D

xxxs and ooos

Dani, Thanks for your lovely comment. You're blog looks beautiful. I'll have to visit your etsy site too.


Anonymous said...

hej Florence no dancing just lots of talking and laughing, food and wine... was a good time but now I am tired... ZZZZZ

xxs an oos right back

Jean-Luc Picard said...


You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when the cow drops dead.


AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRACY You have two cows. The government nationalizes your herd to control the price of milk and level the playing field for consumers. Each cow has a calf and they grow into cows. The milkers union stage an industrial action (strike) to protest the increase in the number of milk cows. A new party comes to power and the economic rationalists privatize your herd to control the price of milk and level the playing field for producers. The government orders the slaughter of two cows to cut production and control the price of milk.You throw a huge beef barbie (barbecue), with XXXX (how Australians spell beer), invite the milkers union, and give a speech espousing the merits of a level playing field. You still have two cows.

Florence said...

Merly, sounds like a great night :)

Captain, at least we still have two cows in the end...lets hope we do anyway. And I think we should look after cows more.

What was the British one?


shannon said...

Florence, these are beautiful- Your Grandfather sounds very special- what agreat way to honour him.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

You have two cows... both are mad.

You have two cows. That one on the left is kinda cute.

You have two cows. One is mad and one is healthy. They are both killed by the government to protect your livelihood. You now work in a supermarket selling pieces of foreign cows.

Florence said...

JL, very good...but very sad too.

Shannon, thanks for your kind words :)

rashbre said...

The owls are great. You have a true gift in your toymaking ability.

rashbre said...

(excuse me) I meant to say parrots... And seriously, the birdies, cats and your earlier library project folk all have great personality...

Florence said...

Thanks Rashbre :D always a pleasure when you drop by.

and thanks for blogging the Pimmie Parrots over at Rashbre central!


shango said...

Too cute.
very beautiful. You are beautiful.

Florence said...

Shango, aw sucks ;-D thanks. Good to have you back!