David Meller at NY NOW
His company’s called A Lost Art, but at last month’s NY NOW David Meller showed a lot of nifty handmade wooden musical pieces he’s found primarily in Thailand, Bali and Indonesia.
The Beverly Hills-based importer/distributor had set out in 1999 to save and preserve the “lost art” of hand-carving, since Asian market conditions demanded smaller and less detailed sculptures.
A Lost Art went on to become the largest importer of strictly hand-carved teak wood elephants in the U.S. But its newer line of musical instruments took center stage at its NY NOW exhibition booth. Foremost among them is its best-seller, the Musical Croaking Frog, which comes in various sizes and colors and has notches running down its spine. When an encased wooden rod is rubbed along the notches, the hollow frog body produces a ratchet sound.
Similar noise-making animal pieces include Chirping Crickets, Turtle Noise Makers, Oinking Pigs, Purring Cats and Whistling Clicking Dolphins. Then there are a series of wooden animals that make sound when blown into: Hooting Owls, Screaming Monkeys, Trumpeting Elephants, and Meller’s own conception, dinosaur Dino-Sounds.
Animal Clappers, meanwhile, are accordion-like instruments that make a clacking/clapping noise as pivoting wooden slats clack against each when the unit is waved back-and-forth. They come in alligator, cat, dinosaur, duck, dolphin, lizard, elephant, pig and turtle configurations.
Other Lost Art musical pieces include coconut kalimba thumb pianos, animal maracas, miniature bamboo gamelan chimes, duck callers, thunder makers, rain sticks and didgeridoos. Additionally, the company carries wooden animal car toys and money banks; animal mini figurines, key chains and windmills; frog and monkey coat hooks; animal jungle vine pencils, teak root candle holders and log boxes, wooden perpetual calendars and balance toys.
And in the nod to the contemporary, The Lost Art displayed the BambooFon cell phone amplifier tube, which becomes an “energy free sound system” when a cell phone is inserted.