Help for an Elf

Abel Hernandez

Abel Hernandez, industrial design graduate student, was selected to create a tiny elf door for Keebler’s “tiny elf door campaign.” Others contributed flowers, sticks and a small pathway.

Abel Hernandez, industrial design graduate student, was selected by Kellogg’s Keebler brand and the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department to design and build a tiny elf door in the base of a tree at Whetstone Park in Columbus. His door was one of four created in Columbus for a national tiny door campaign promoting the idea that the Keebler elves are real and living in the trees. Hernandez’s door is in the Park of Roses within Whetstone Park; the other doors are located in Schiller Park and Bicentennial Park.

“I found the challenge of creating something whimsical very appealing. Fabricating a tiny wooden door with metal hinges at such a miniature scale seemed like a fun opportunity to use my imagination and the design fabrication skills I had acquired while creating some of my wooden and metal furniture pieces in undergrad,” said Hernandez.

Hernandez grew up in Providence and attended the Rhode Island School of Design for his undergraduate degree. He now works for the Lawrence and Isabel Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise, where he manages all of the digital media platforms.

Hernandez designed his door with all natural materials, including poplar, brass and maple. Since installing the door, Hernandez is happy to report that others have contributed to the site, placing flowers, a tiny pile of sticks and a pathway made of acorn caps near the door.

The hashtag #tinydoors is written on the inside of every door, with the goal that visitors will tweet a picture of the door when they find it.

“The Keebler project is a great use of social media to get people out into the natural world,” Hernandez said.

Using natural materials was important for Hernandez, who is developing his own menswear line using recycled materials, like old clothing from Goodwill, and “upcycling” them into new clothes and accessories. He hopes this experience will open new doors of opportunity for him.

By Molly Kime, Communication student