Looking for a holiday gift for that special someone who’s in love with the Houston landscape? Local designer John Paul PlauchÃ© of Plodes Studio comes to the rescue with Mon Petit Chandelle, a lovingly handcrafted wax casting of a Houston-area crawfish chimney.
What exactly is a crawfish chimney? It’s the pile of small mudballs that accumulates at the entrance to a crawfish burrow, as the critters excavate their homes from our native muddy soil, the artist explains:
In and around Houston you can find them in wet situations like in ditches, near bayous, and fields or lawns that may not drain as well and/or hold water after a rain. I’m sure you could go to memorial park and find them . . . I used to live in the heights off 26th st. and specifically remember seeing one or two around my mailbox /ditch area….
PlauchÃ© says he found the chimney he used for Mon Petit Chandelle in a ditch off Sheldon Rd. between I-10 and Beltway 8. It’s hard to imagine finding a gift with more uh . . . local flavor. Plus, there’s the artist’s statement:
The design was instigated from childhood memories of being more directly in tune with â€œoutsideâ€, the frequency of seeing these little towers and kicking them over . . . it became just a playful memory, and the shape of the mud chimney just seemed to mimic a candle to me in proportion, shape, and texture.
And as the candle burns it returns the associative favor by burning what would resemble the hole through the center of the chimney. Its definitely a local or regional thing. Iâ€™m sure a lot of people on other areas of the US wouldnâ€™t have any idea what it is just because the type of crawfish that make these chimneys simply arenâ€™t there.
Below the fold: More crayfish-candle craziness, plus where-to-buy information.
Other Plodes Studio creations by PlauchÃ© are available locally at the Peel Gallery Shop and the Greener Grass Design website, as well as a few other online merchants. But Mon Petit Chandelle is for now available only through PlauchÃ©’s studio. You can contact the artist directly through the contact information listed at the Plodes Studio website.