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This plate started it all!

mortaged home plate

Photo courtesy of Kristi Engle

Years ago, I gave this “God Bless our Mortgaged Home” plate to friends as a housewarming gift. In addition to the folksy style, I loved how the plate raised the importance and serious stakes of owning a mortgage. Something that needed to be either blessed, commemorated or possibly memorialized in some way. It’s certainly jokey, but also it holds

new meaning to me as we try and hold on to our house.

kristi plates in situ

Photo courtesy of Kristi Engle

In addition to the above photo, Kristi also sent this beautiful photo of her Last Menagerie series in situ.

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Nothing says FOREVER like…

Since opening The Last Menagerie shop this summer, I’ve sold several plates as wedding gifts and one set for a baby shower.  My kind of people.

The plates remain rare and conceptual art objects that are more than appropriate to mark an array of occasions.

And nothing says FOREVER like extinction.

The Last Menagerie Wood2

The Last Menagerie Pigeon Wood

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Laura Bliss on the half-remembered, half-stripped Quagga

The Last Menagerie is proud to publish the second installment of the Guest Writer Project: A Misunderstanding of Stripes by Laura Bliss. Laura is a writer and journalist living in Washington, D.C. Her work has appeared onThe Atlantic, CityLab, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and beyond.

In the coming months, The Last Menagerie will feature a different writer, historian, or artist each month contributing a short piece of writing about one of the animals from the first plate series. Past contributions from LJ Moore on The Passenger Pigeon and future contributors include: Amy Blount Lay on The Dodo and Erin Chapman on The Pyrenean Ibex and The Wooly Mammoth

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From Rev JG Wood’s “Illustrated Natural History” (1853, 1874): The QUAGGA looks at first sight like a cross between the common wild ass and the zebra, as it only partially possesses the characteristic zebra-stripes, and is decorated merely upon the hind and fore-parts of the body. The streaks are not so deep as they are in the zebra, and the remainder of the body is brown, with the exception of the abdomen, legs, and part of the tail, which are whitish-grey. The Quagga lives in large herds, and is much persecuted by the natives of Southern Africa, who pursue it for the sake of its skin and its flesh, both of which are in high estimation.

color quagga

The last captive Quagga died in Amsterdam on August 12, 1883. Only one Quagga was ever photographed alive circa 1870.

 

 

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The Last Menagerie Launches Guest Writer Project

From The New York Times August 30th, 2014

On September 1, 1914, Martha, a passenger pigeon who lived in an aviary at the Cincinnati Zoo, was found dead in her cage. At the time, Martha was believed to be the sole passenger pigeon left on Earth, and, in the intervening century, no evidence has emerged to contradict this. The passenger pigeon was once the most numerous bird in North America, perhaps in the world; it’s estimated that when the first European settlers arrived, at least one of every four birds on the continent was a passenger pigeon. The early colonists were awed by the vastness of the flocks, which contained hundreds of millions—perhaps billions—of birds. As late as the eighteen-seventies, passenger pigeons still could be seen passing overhead in astonishing, sky-darkening numbers; then, over the course of just four decades, the species, Ectopistes migratorius, dwindled down to Martha and her companion, a male named George. Then it was just Martha. And then there were none. –Elizabeth Kolbert

To mark this auspicious day, The Last Menagerie is thrilled to launch its first Guest Writer Project post with a piece by San Francisco based writer and artist, LJ Moore about Martha, the last Passenger Pigeon here: Past Future Perfect

martha by LJ Moore

Illustration by LJ Moore

In the coming months, The Last Menagerie will feature a different writer, historian, or artist each month contributing a short piece of writing about one of the animals from the first plate series. Future contributors include: Laura Bliss on The QuaggaAmy Blount Lay on The Dodo and Erin Chapman on The Pyrenean Ibex and The Wooly Mammoth

Stay tuned!!