Quote overtop of portrait of Jelena Wong

Show & Tell with Jelena Wong: Codex Seraphinianus & Kiwi The Hedgehog

jelena wong

designer & photographer

Wow, thanks for sharing these with us today!

The Codex sure is a curious book. I’d suggest  our readers learn more about it through the magic of the interwebs, if they’re interested, but just to briefly explain – for lack of a better term, it’s an encyclopedia for an entirely made-up but elaborate world full of weird and wonderful flora and fauna, as well as different cultures and of people.


I’ve never seen a book like this. The fact alone that it’s all written in a cypher language which hasn’t been cracked is mysterious and incredible enough, but the quality of artistry in this book makes you appreciate it that much more. It’s all done by hand as a manuscript with incredibly detailed illustrations done in vivid coloured pencil. The pages themselves even have a texture to them that I can’t describe. I know that this is only a remake, but wow!


With a covetable book like this I’m wondering, do you think you’ll keep this your whole life? Would you ever pass it on to someone?


“I’m definitely going to keep the Codex Seraphinianus in my life.  It has, since acquiring it, served as a great point of reference and reminds me to keep imagining life beyond earth.


Every time I look in it I find something new and different


I do want to give the Codex away but on two conditions.

  1. The person needs to appreciate it as much as I have
  2. I will need to be near dead before I give it away!”


The Codex Seraphinianus reminds me a lot of some of the curios and antiquities you might find in a shop like Paxton Gate or in a bizarre flea market. Do you have any other items like that? And do you consider yourself a collector or have a lot of things you cherish?


“I love curios and things like that! I’d love to visit that shop and one day have a curiosities display in my home!


I consider myself a collector. In comparison to a hoarder I have an easy time letting go of things that no longer have meaning to me.


I have a lot of things I cherish, such as a magic coin trick given to me by my grandpa from Brunei around 2002… or the music boxes I’ve collected throughout my travels.”

Similar to how the Codex is a very surrealist inspired item, I look at some of the accessories and homes you have for Kiwi, and there’s a certain shared quirkiness to them as well.


“Yeah I guess that’s true! She’s definitely spoiled. My friend brought those back for me from Korea!”


What do you think Kiwi and The Codex say about you?

“Kiwi represents my love of animals. And possibly my selfless tendencies. If I were to choose to become something other than a designer, I would be a vet.


The Codex Seraphinianus, in regards to what it says about me… I’d say that it represents my curiosity and love for all things enigmatic. I would say that the original love for curiosities come from a young Jelena, hypnotized by magicians.”


If your house was on fire would you rush to save these things? Are they replaceable?


“If my house was on fire and I had to pick between Kiwi and the Codex Seraphinianus, I would definitely pick Kiwi. Even though the book means a great deal to me, it’s just a remake anyways right?”


Do you think that things alone can make a person happy?


“I believe that things alone can make someone happy. On the contrary, I also believe that experiences that are embedded within objects make for a better memory.”

Thanks Jelena (& Kiwi) for taking the time for Show & Tell!

Learn more about Jelena and her work here:

@yxiixy, @kiwi_hedgehogjelenawong.com

Show & Tell

is an ongoing project from the minds of Cooper & O’Hara. Striving to recreate the wonder and excitement from childhood and the school-time event of Show & Tell, Bryan and Thomas are encouraging people to tell their stories, share their treasures, and showcase their talents in this web editorial series.