The Saga of Harry Allen’s Pig Bank

Sometimes, things are just meant to be.

That’s what New York industrial designer Harry Allen discovered along the way to creating his pig bank.

It was to be part of his “Reality” collection of decorative objects for the home. Inspired in 2003 by the advent of reality television, Allen embarked on a “hunter/gatherer” search for inspiration.

He found it in a bowl composed of coiled rope, in another of walnuts, in a roller skate that serves as a bookend, and in a pointing finger on a hand that doubles as a coat rack

Then there were the piglets.

He sent a photo of one to a taxidermist in upstate New York, and asked him to find one for him at a nearby farm, and mount it.

The taxidermist complied, but couldn’t follow through. He spared that piglet’s life, giving it away it to friend with a farm.

But fate would intervene.

A couple of days later, the owner of the first farm called to say that one of the piglet’s siblings, accidentally smothered by its mother, was available. Would Allen prefer that one, the taxidermist asked?

You bet.

“So at the end of the day, I’m not responsible for the piglet’s death,” he says. “Even though people do get really mad at me – while they’re  biting on their pork chop.”

Now the piglet’s in mass production as a bank with a cork in its belly, resin-cast in a silicone mold to highlight its finest details. Finished in matte or chrome in a variety of colors, it’s distributed by Areaware, and sold in galleries nationwide.

And it’s a hit.

“Love them or hate them, people think they’re funny,” says Jen Silvestri of Mitchell Hill Gallery in Charleston, S.C. “We place an order every week – we can’t keep them in stock.”

They may look like pig banks in the window of that King Street gallery, but in fact, they’re aesthetic reminders of an immortal piglet.

[slideshow id=1380]