Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Very Handmade Toys

by Jessica Burko of Reclaimed to You

We feel so lucky in our family to be surrounded by many talented artists and craftspeople that we count as friends, work with as colleagues, and even have as family members. My husband and I have designed and created many of the items, furniture and art in our home, and as we watch our 16-month old son Zachary play and explore, it seems that we have already influenced him to appreciate handcraft over mass-produced.
Some of our son's favorite toys are hand-knit by my knitting group friends represented by "Rasta" and Elephant above. He also loves the wooden toys we've given him made by former Boston Handmade member, Tactile Baby, and naptime and bedtime would not be complete without Eugene the sock monkey made by Monkey Shine Studio, and the hand-knit crib blanket that I made for him. However, even with this high quality selection of playthings, Zachary also seems to have a great appreciation for the very handmade "garbage toys" that are in his toy box.
In my artwork and craftwork I upcycle, recycle, and reuse many found materials so it seemed only natural that I show Zachary how to do the same, and I have to laugh every time he chooses to play with one of these over a fancy plastic toy with lights and buttons. Together we made a rattle toy from a water bottle, a few corks, and a handful of almonds. He loves the varied sounds the bottle makes when he shakes it. Then one day as I put an empty tissue box on the floor I was delighted to see Zachary fill it with blocks and squeal as he shook the box, pulled all the blocks out again, and put other small toys inside. These tissue box toys are endless hours of fun, recycleable, and replaceable.
The first of these toys I made for him was from an empty oatmeal container. Inside the container is a large jingle ball kept from embellished holiday gift wrapping I once received, and the top and bottom of the container is sealed with packing tape. It isn't pretty, but it works really well as a rolling musical toy and as a stand-up drum.Reinforcing our very handmade toy making are our son's wonderful daycare teachers. At daycare Zachary does many art projects with cardboard saved from cereal boxes like the beautiful happy birthday airplane he brought home as a gift from all his little pals. Being creative comes in many shapes and forms, does not have to cost a lot of money, and is always a good time. I can't wait to see what Zachary creates as he continues to grow.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...