Plush Toy Philosophy

I love plush toy animals, especially brightly coloured round ones. They make me smile. I had been thinking about the degradation of the environment, climate change, and the stress this puts on animal species, and wanted to make a small comment on this, to me, distressing facet of climate change and economic imperatives. I collected quite a few plush toys from various thrift stores, selecting ones with whimsical expressions and glorious colours, and hung them up in trees around my local environment. It amused me to note, as I hung them up, the reactions of passers-by. A few people were actively interested and took pictures; others were interested but did not want to appear so; still others walked by without noticing. Children, almost without exception, loved to see these toys hanging in space.

It wasn’t easy to find suitable trees; they had to be near the ocean, in a place where there were other “species” with which they could interact, humans, birds, etc., the backdrop had to be visually engaging, and the tree had to have branches low enough to the ground so that I, not a tall person, could work with them.

Lumbermen’s Arch in Stanley Park fit the bill – here are a few pictures from that installation.

I also tried hanging them in trees surrounding Lost Lagoon.

Ty and I found a suitable cherry tree at Sunset Beach.

I thought I’d position them, with the anatomical head and head of Athena, along a log in the open field at the entrance to Stanley Park with the beautiful blue pond in the background.

I have always liked this sculpture, “The Meeting”, part of the Vancouver Sculpture Biennale, and installed across from Cardero’s Restaurant at Coal Harbour. I amused myself by placing a different animal on each of the figure’s heads, and the two heads in two of the men’s hands. People love interacting with this work.

I couldn’t resist the posture of this character from Yue Minjun’s Amazing Laughter, part of the Sculpture Biennale and located at English Bay. I just had to hang my little animals from his fingers, as if he were a big puppet master laughing about the absurdity of these little toys.

I love the worried expression of the little teddy bear as he appears to be hoisted into the air.

See more here, here and here.

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