Saturday, June 6, 2009

Girls on Film: Steiff On The Not-So-Big Screen

One of Steiffgal’s favorite songs from the “big 80’s” is Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film.” This week, she had the unique experience of being one (well, sort of!) Steiffgal and a bunch of her hug had the pleasure of sitting for a portrait with the artist Michael Oatman and his team.

Michael is working on a commission for the city of Cambridge, MA called “You Are Here”. “You Are Here” is an open-to-the public project where over the course of six weeks, 20 people from the city are posed and videotaped surrounded by meaningful personal items. At the end of the six weeks, the footage will be edited and processed, resulting in a permanent exhibit and displayed on three large hi-def TVs in the city's new youth community center. The vertically oriented screens will feature portraits of area residents, entitled “The Cantabrigians.”

Of course, it was a thrill to be selected but it probably was the Steiff that won the invitation to participate. Take a look here at a sample shot from the sitting… what do you think?

The hardest part of participating in “You Are Here” was deciding who to bring along for the shoot. Some were chosen for their legacy, others for their personal history, and a few just for their good looks! Here’s the “who’s who” in the portrait, sort of counterclockwise from the top….

Horace, the Longfellow Bea
r: In honor of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Steiffgal’s friend Frankie Wetherell, both true Cantebridgeans.

Flamingo: For her wonderful color.

Vintage studio gorilla: He was featured in an early 1970’s “Peaceable Kingdom” window display for the department store Gottschalk’s and seemed like a natural fit for this vignette, too.

Leo lion and Cosy lamby: A further reference to Edward Hicks’ famous painting, “Peaceable Kingdom.”

Two large vintage Jocko monkeys: Monkeys are legacy Steiff products and no Steiff scene would be complete without one or two; Steiffgal carried the larger one home from Germany on her lap (Lufthansa didn’t charge for that, thankfully!).

Pug: Because Steiffgal’s two real pugs wouldn’t sit still long enough for the shoot.

Vintage cozy camel: A nod to the first unofficial Steiff logo, the camel, who was the first animal to appear on the cover of the debut Steiff catalog of 1892.

Collie: To keep faithful watch over the participants.

Giraffe: For her beautiful color and adorable facial expression.

Orange replica circus elephant: In tribute to the first official Steiff logo, the elephant… also for her amazing color and tricked out looks.

Vintage Tiki Niki hedgehog doll: Found on an antiquing adventure in Lucerne, Switzerland; to add a bit of the unexpected to the portrait.

Mother/daughter vintage Susi spaniels: For their sheer adorableness.

Two vintage sets of Zotty and Lully bears: Seemed like a natural “peanut gallery” for the shot with their forever smiling open mouths and happy faces.

Lulac tiger: A special gift from Steiffgal’s maternal Grandfather (of blessed memory) when Steiffgal did not get into her first choice college early decision; Steiffgal and tiger together delivered the eulogy at Grandfather’s funeral twenty years later.

And Steiffgal is holding…

Grandma’s very vintage Teddy: Won by Steiffgal’s paternal Grandmother in a drawing in Berlin in the late 1930’s and one of the only things she took with her when she left Germany in the early 1940’s. (Much more on this in upcoming columns.)

Very vintage Jocko monkey: In tribute to Hans and Margret Rey, authors and illustrators of the beloved Curious George children’s book series, who spent the later part of their lives in Cambridge.

A very peaceable kingdom, indeed. A big thank you to Michael Oatman and team for a wonderful once in a lifetime experience.

Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! What a wonderful picture to have taken. Your Grandma's bear must be very precious to you.


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