We make regular trips to Africa to catch up with our craftsmen and see what they are up to, talk to them about new developments and ideas for new sculptures. It is great to be able to see the work in progress and it really gives a sense of how much time goes in to each and every one of our animal sculptures. We can talk about different designs and poses for the pieces and check up on any issues that might be going on with our other staff who assist Moses and the team.
It is not all work when we have these trips though, there is some time to see a bit of this fascinating country, learn about the culture and of course see some animals! When a couple of our team went over earlier this year they were able to visit a local school and took them some little gifts which went down very well. Children start school aged three and some will have to travel for hours every day to reach their school so it was lovely for them to have some visitors to break up the day. The children all have their favourite animals and it was nice to be able to tell them about children in the UK who visit our showroom and are delighted by the sculptures.
The team also had the chance to visit an elephant orphanage and a giraffe sanctuary on their trip. It is a sad fact that poaching still goes on in Africa, even though a lot of species are already endangered and this can lead to young animals no longer having the safety of a group and being left to fend for themselves. The animals are cared for at the ‘orphanage’ and as their interaction with humans is quite limited they are usually able to be returned to the wild when they are old enough to look after themselves.
The trip included a drive through the surrounding area and we were able to see loads of zebra in their natural habitat. The markings are as different as individual fingerprints and we were delighted to be able to bring our first hand painted zebra sculptures in to the showroom a few months after the trip.