Last weekend I stumbled across a diagram and instructions to make a automated alligator pull toy. It was reprinted from a c. 1920s how-to book for boys. (This is my favorite book genre. I’ve got a dozen, or so, ranging from the 1900s to the 1960s. I’m not sure why it made an impression on me.
Over the next few days my notebooks and journals were filled with alligator drawings. Early last week I sat at my bench and carved an alligator. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it . I put it aside and had no plans to revisit the project anytime soon.
I was home, sick, on Friday and alligator thoughts began creeping into my head again. Saturday morning I was back at my bench and moving forward. The result are pictured here.
All of my work is inspired by a personal experience. I was well into carving. In fact I was setting the eyes when I remembered a youthful fascination with an particular alligator. Boyhood chum, Charlie Ormiston, has a real stuffed baby alligator on his bedroom dresser. I seem to remember that kids regularly brought these back from Florida. It had black glass eyes and a wire running through its tail. It was stitched from chin to tail with big brown stitches. I could see Charlie’s stuffed ‘gator, clear as a bell, as worked on this guy.