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Category Archives: The Red Chair
“This is not fair! Normally we are not allowed to come near this chair, now we have to pose in it. Well, whatever, guess Tanja is the boss. She is ok though, leaves us alone when she works on her books. So let’s be nice, smile guys! Well who are we, what shall we say? We are the 3irds, we team up with Duvel the publisher’s dog, for naughty stuff. My name is Funny bird, I have a big mouth and a lot of nonsense in my head. The big guy here is Big Bird, he prefers to sleep and the tiny guy is a bit scared, he is Little Bird. I must say, the names she gave us are not very creative. Maybe we should give ourselves some new names? Big Bird, how about Dotty?” Funny Bird, would you please mind your own business! We like our names and I would like to enjoy some quiet time in this nice soft Red Chair…”
Squack is more than a little chubby creature on a key chain. We gave him his name to honor Squack Evans, a great safari guide. The orange puppet in the book was designed as a mix of different animals, with spots in his fur from a hyena, he has the scruffy manes of a young lion, a bear belly, monkey hands and sticky-out ears. I felted him around a frame with real joints, which means he can be modeled into different poses. For the illustrations he was photographed. In the book Tata&Squack the Big Journey, he becomes Tata’s friend. Her parents are researchers, who studied the migration of the Wildebeest in the Serengeti. Tata picked Squack from a basket full of toys on her flight back home. Squack turns out to be magical and together with her new friend she goes back to Africa. They join Moyo, the wildebeest called “heart”, on an adventurous hunt for the “watertreasure”. They learn why two million animals follow the rain, year after year and how to survive lions and crocodiles along the way. In their next adventure Tata&Squack will meet a royal elephant and learn more about these special animals. The new book will be published in 2014.
On his blog Squack describes himself as a professional safari guide, photographer, bush boy and conservationist. Following the advice: “Find a job you love and you will never work another day in your life” Squack became a safari guide. With photographic opportunities literally around every corner when on safari an interest in photography was a natural path. He grew up in the bush, spending the early days of his life barefoot and carefree on a large cattle ranch in the south east of Zimbabwe. We first met Squack on our honeymoon in 1999, when he was guiding out of a lodge in Zimbabwe. But we really got to know him, when he was managing a camp in Katavi, one of Africa’s most remote National Parks in Tanzania. We had a great time fly-camping in “paradise”, where we had a hilarious kikoi-party with a view on a hippo pool. A few year later Squack started private guiding and we have traveled with him since. Apart from being a very good guide, Squack is a great travel companion. He is patient, always friendly and fun to be with. He has also taught us a lot about wildlife-photograpy. During the last years he has helped us to find the right locations to get the pictures we need for the books. We would not have been able to manage without him. Thank you Squack! We are looking forward to our next trip, to see chimpanzees and gorillas, the start of a new book: Phanhabs Jungle.
The picture shows The Red Chair on location in the Serengeti, where we worked on Phanhabs Savanna.
Boss, you are not fair, to portray me like this. I feel flattered, to be in the Red Chair, but that’s not me anymore! Back then I was innocent and sweet. You played with me all day and gave me treats, every time I did something. Those were the days, when I could charm everybody. I know you loved me that way, but I have changed. As a terrier I always had my own head, but now I have responsibilities. To begin with I have to protect you. That’s why I growl when somebody comes near our house. The postman is ok, he has nice treats. Then I have to inspect my territory on a regular basis, sniff, mark strategic spots and catch up with my palls. And of course I take my position as publisher’s dog very seriously…
I have known Tanja for nearly 10 years by now. We met each other in Hamburg, both being a foreigner in a new city. Back then a mutual friend forgot to take a baby bed during her visit to Tanja&Willem. After Sekt and fresh strawberries in our little garden in the Mottenburgerstrasse, Tanja and I started to see each other on a regular basis. This is how I “met” the red chair standing in front of the window with a view on the Elbe in Övelgönne. Meanwhile we are the authors of Tata&Squack The Big Journey. In the room where we spend a loth of hours developing and creating the adventures of Tata&Squack, the Red Chair is still overviewing the Elbe…
Ein furchtbares Bild, aber über seine eigenen Werke darf man lästern. Es war und blieb mein erstes Experiment mit Ölfarbe. Aber was soll’s, es zeigt den Roten Stuhl und deshalb gehört es hierher. Als wir in 2003 nach Hamburg zogen stand der Rote Stuhl am Fenster, mit Blick über den Containerterminal am Burchhardkai. Willem saß dort oft mit seiner Zeitung. Als er auf einem unserer Reisen Geburtstag hatte, brauchte ich ein kleines Geschenk, was leicht in den Koffer passt. Also malte ich kurzerhand ein Bild von ihm. Gar nicht so einfach. Wegen der Ölfarbe wollte und wollte das Bild nicht trocknen. Dadurch war es dann doch nicht so praktisch zum mithnehmen. Ölfarbe ist nichts für mich, aber als Illustratorin muß man ja ab und zu etwas Neues probieren.
Voor mij is dit een Familiestoel, een stoel met een verhaal. Hij stond bij ons in de kamer, toen was hij nog ecru. In die tijd had ik niet echt het zitvlees om erin te zitten. We hadden een druk gezin, de praktijk draaide altijd maar door. Maar als we samen in de woonkamer zaten was het mijn stoel. Dus ook een mijmerstoel, een stoel voor een glas wijn, een discussiestoel. Oma Dekker heeft er ook nog in gezeten. Ik vind het fijn dat hij nu hier bij jullie staat.
Netty Dekker, de oorspronkelijke eigenaar van de stoel.
The Red Chair has been in my life since I met Willem, which was nearly 28 years ago. Back then it belonged to his parents, who gave me a very warm welcome during a very rough period at home. Something I am still very thankful for. The chair was the chair of Willem’s mother. Everyone respected that, even the boys. Willem has two brothers and their house was always filled with stories, laughter, friends and family. I have very fond memories of that time. When their house was redecorated we were happy to take the chair into our home. It has traveled with us since then and is now part of twikga as well. It sits in my office, I use it to think and to relax with a cup of tea. Our dog Duvel tried to claim it, when he was younger. Somehow it has found its way onto the websites. So the Red Chair is there to stay, a reason to give it some more attention…