Monday, April 27, 2009

World Tapir Day!

What a great day. Everything went so well and I had a great time with my oh-so-generous friends who have participated in the whole project with exactly the right spirit and sense of fun. You can see these wonderful people at

There's a few last things to do by way of wrapping up the project (at least this part of it).

I will take all the donations and covert it into US funds to give to the Tapir Preservation Fund. I have asked that they tell me where the money goes (to which project) so you who have been so kind, will know where your money went.

I have created a photo gallery and will add the 'outside-of-Ottawa-people-who-wanted-tapirs' when I get their pictures.

I will put some thought into what I will do for next year's World Tapir Day.

Finally, a really big thanks to all friends who participated in today's events, thanks not only for your patience with my obsessions but also your tolerance and good spirit ... I had a blast!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Finished! Ready for World Tapir Day tomorrow

The final job was to make a box - a box big enough to take 30 tapirs. I took a ready-made box and decorated it with stamps. I cut the shapes out of thin foam that I can overprint and overprint. The great thing about this method is the random texture you can achieve. Gives the whole thing a 'rough' look I like. Yesterday I received my first contribution .... Jenn, my neighbour across the street, she runs Capital Worm Ranch - a wonderful eco-friendly enterprise

The link/plug is in case I don't have a tapir left to give her! Go there, check it out!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


One of Cait's friends donated a Digimon card .... a tapir ..... who knew. 5 days to go!!!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Eight days to go - A little book of tapirs

After a while, I didn't think it was enough to just give wooden tapirs in return for donations for World Tapir Day. I felt there was a need for a little bit of info about these wonderful creatures. SO! a book will be attached around ever tapir neck. The books show the four types/species of tapirs, their dimensions and also some salient facts.

There's a way of folding one sheet of paper to produce an eight page little booklet .... thanks go to my wife Cath who uses this technique to produce books for her kindergarten students.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tapirs fall down

I accidentally knocked the board holding the half painted tapirs - they all fell over. But what an interesting texture. A Tapir Texture.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ghosts of the rainforest

Just before I finish the painting (they will be Malayan tapirs - broad white band around middle with black front and rear ends) I thought I would photograph these 'ghosts'. Seems appropriate after reading an article about how Tapirs, amongst other forest dwellers, are responsible for the dispersion of seeds. So fewer tapirs mean fewer varieties of flora.

Tapirs get their first coat

Two weeks to go, and the tapirs get their first coat. Here they are, waiting for their feet to dry - all 120 of them. Tapirs are 'irregular ungulates' - four toes on the front and three on the back. Guess that means that they could only ever count up to fourteen!

Monday, April 6, 2009

17 of 30 now have ears

These ears are a bit too big, I'll have to sand them down. Interesting though, how the ears have given the models so much more character. Also, I am fascinated by the image of these creatures lined up in ranks. I have the strongest feeling that there may be some paintings here. The irony here, is that tapirs are by nature solitary. 21 days to go!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Let's make it 30

Interest is growing and when I combine the number of work colleagues with the growing number of folks who say they will attend the lunch at the 'Table' on the 27th April (World Tapir Day) it seems like 30 tapirs might be a better number. This will also give me a few extra to send to people who have heard of my project but live outside Ottawa. So it's now 30 bodies; 120 legs; 36 days to go. The picture shows the two originals; twenty at the deaf and blind stage; 10 new 'bodies'.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

T shirt Photoshopped over Mexico pic

The T-shirt has arrived - pretty spiffy eh?
You can get yours, and other Tapir paraphernalia, at
Info on Tapirs:
The people I will be sending all funds raised to:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Eyes and ears

I found some small black shiny beads that I thought would make great eyes. In the black test piece in the picture above I punched a hole with a nail punch and pressed in a bead. Works great as it shines just like an eye against the matte of the paint. And for ears, I'm going to use 'biscuits'. They are used for jointing wood and are really inexpensive. I cut the ends off the lozenge shaped 'biscuits' and then insert them into slits I will make in the sides of the head. So that was quite a successful test ...... 46 days to go!

It was inevitable......

Sooner or later flesh and sharp tools were bound to come together. Lets hope that that it now for this project.

So, why tapirs?

It occurs to me that Pandas, Koala bears and maybe penguins and the like ...... you know, the 'cute' ones, will always have people concerned for their well being. But, if we're serious about sharing the planet and giving dignity and respect to all living creatures, then I think we should be looking out for the 'less cute'. If we can preserve tapirs, we'll be going a long way to preserving all creatures. That's not to say tapirs aren't 'cute' (I happen to find them fascinating) - it's just that they seem to be well below the radar of human concern.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Just in case

Just in case I run out of carved wooden tapirs, I do have a couple of paintings like the one above.

50 days left till World Tapir Day

20 Tapirs now have 80 legs. They're beginning to look like a herd. An 'unheard-of herd' of Tapirs. And I still have all my fingers!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The shaping

All things start with 1.5" square sectioned lumber. Cut with the aid of a tenon saw and a bench hook - as they did in high school woodworking classes back in the sixties.

It's all pretty basic!

I don't have workshop, so carving is done with a rasp and sandpaper for the most part while sitting atop a collapsable 'workmate' work bench that doubles as a vise. I'm alright with these 'basic' tools, as I think the more simplistic the tools, the more interesting the finished piece.

The project - The purpose

About 10 years ago I made two wooden tapirs for each of my daughters. The idea was that they took them, as a little piece of home, to their sleep-overs. I would slip them into their overnight bags when they weren't looking.
Now today, I've decided to make some more - but this time for a different purpose. In 56 days it will be 'World Tapir Day' (Monday April 27th) and by that time I am hoping to have at least twenty wooden tapirs (4" long x 2.5" high and 1.5" wide) for sale. I will then donate all money from these sales to 'The Tapir Preservation Fund'.