Thursday, 10 November 2011

Fibreglass friends

Ever since I was little back in the mid 80's I can remember seeing these strange creations. Most commonly found in Little Chef restaurant and Happy Eater outside play areas, play parks, crazy golf courses, themes parks etc. They seemed to be everywhere, usually the designs were a variation on a few themes, like elephants, trees, clowns etc with a swing or slide built into them somewhere. Even at that young age I was quietly fascinated with them. They all have their unique 'charms' but the common thread that ties them is that they are usually slightly disturbing to look at, faces a bit lopsided that kind of thing.

As I grew up they got forgotten about so I didn't really notice the decline in their numbers until a few years ago when I saw one in a play park looking very sorry for itself. After that whenever I saw one I would photograph it, I told myself I was documenting a dying art form, but really it was just an excuse to look for and photograph these crazy creatures. Time has not been kind to them and most of the ones I've found have been pretty neglected, peeling paint etc which only makes them look more haunted and sorrowful.

The only information I've been able to dig up on them is that most of them were made by a company called 'Artifibre' I would love to find one of their sales catalogues showing the full range in all its gaudy glory.

It would be a shame to see them disappear completely after delighting and terrifying children in equal measure for so many years.

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