2001
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What is the destiny of wooden toys?

by Katarína Hubová

Folk toys play a specific role in the history of toys for each nation, and they can still express a great deal to the people of today. They excel through their simple shape stylisation, simplicity and humility to the material. They were produced by individuals as well as specialized workshops. The wooden toy also has a background in the work of professional authors, and several authors have been inspired by the tradition. In the 1950s, Václav Kautman laid the basis for such a perception of design. Wooden toys were also part of the sculptural and painting art of Vladimír Kompánek; his stylisation and motifs were inspired by the folk toy. The toy often takes the position of a small sculpture and the form of an artistic artefact.

In comparison with industrially produced toys, the handmade processing of a toy has a more emotive feeling. Sculptor Marian Huba also uses this principle when creating wooden toys – he uses the traditional technique for hollowing wooden vessels. Designer Tibor Uhrín has had a negative experience with the mass production of his very successful Gringo building set, as did Michal Longauer with the production of his wooden toys intended for rehabilitation. Apart from the above-mentioned authors, Karol Krčmár and Václav Kautman Junior are also both devoted to wooden toys. Experience shows that the problem is not only producing the toy but also selling it – the creators are several years ahead of the customers and salesmen, and the production and commercial network is in great need of development.

Some years ago, the need to create wooden toys led to the introduction of its teaching at secondary art schools. Since 1989 it has been part of the syllabus in the department of toy creation in the School of Utilitarian Art in Kremnica. In addition, some of the teaching at the department of design and wood shaping at the School of Utilitarian Art in Bratislava is devoted to the creation of wooden toys. However, the current production and sales situation is probably not going to stimulate them in practise.

 


Further articles of magazine Craft, Art, Design 02/2001:

 

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