Tracking Down History Of A 1960s Gravel Art Elf I Had As A Kid.

elf1

When I was a kid I had this exact guy hanging over my bed in the late 70s/early 80s. Well, not *this* exact guy, but one crafted exactly like him. Wasn’t really something that I put a lot of thought into for most of my life, although I did manage to hold onto mine up until my move from Austin to Portland, a time when a lot of my cool vintage stuff had to go.

I’ve found myself wondering more and more what his “story” was, however. Occasionally I would see this or one of a half dozen similar elves and pixies at antique stores, enough to convince me this was something mass produced.

elf0elf2

Frustratingly, I am still unable to find specifics about this particular design, but I can tell you a little bit about *what* they are. Gravel art like this was a popular fad in the 1960s, a descendant of paint-by number, but with multi-colored crushed rock to fill in designs lined with black or gold cordon. You can see a couple pieces in this style in the background of this Mad Men episode still.

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Jane Gaylor is the artist credited with bringing this art style to the mainstream in the mid-20th century. You can find a very rudimentary history of gravel art here.  Although I am still unsure of the brand that made the elf design I had as a kid, I am aware that the kit would have looked something like this:

elf4

Sooner or later, just for the sake of closure, I’d love to see the sort of box/kit that elf actually came in. But at least I have a better idea what I’m looking for.

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