My toys are for children to enjoy and treasure for years to come, they are not meant to be set aside as showpieces.
A real "child friendly" toy should be:
Simple, without lots of extra detail to allow the child the freedom to add or change in their imagination whatever takes his / her fancy. Too many details can be in the way and give the toy a fixed appearance.
Beautiful, beauty gives a sense of well being, it is something to enjoy and joy is most important in all our lives.
Well-made, a well-made toy is worth caring for, especially in the throw-away society we live today. Teaching the child to care for something is a good quality to develop in their life.
Environmentally-friendly, for the child's and for our future, it goes without saying that materials used for toys should be environmentally sound and sourced in an environmentally-friendly way
I have been making and selling toys from home for more than thirty years.
There is no address mentioned here for the simple reason that during the day I am normally in the workshop in our backyard, so it is most likely that the front door is not answered if someone turns up unannounced.
You are most welcome to come along and my times are flexible, just call 94165259 to arrange a suitable time to pop in.
I am not taking orders as such. I make every toy individually and I don't keep patterns / designs, as I always feel I can improve on the last one or could change something.
Therefore sizes differ and prices too (reason there are no prices on the website) and a toy could look altogether different from the one people have seen what can lead to disappointment.
Also, orders come with deadlines and if anything works against creativity, it is a deadline with consequent stress.
It goes without saying that "orders" still happen for various reasons, so it is something to discuss and agree upon.
On a personal note, I really like to feel free to make whatever I want, whenever I want.
I am selling from home as well as on-line and happy to send toys (at the cost of the purchaser - I can quote you for P & H)
I use recycled timber and off-cuts wherever possible (hence some blemishes here and there) and when I have to buy wood, it is an environmentally-conscious choice.
I use a lot of camphor laurel (have been given trees from anywhere over the years, thank you to all!), it is beautiful timber to work with and as the tree itself is considered a pest in Australia, nobody can have objections to using the timber, it even seems to be the perfect solution turning a problem into something positive.
I use camphor laurel for all my tree houses and in many more toys.
"Play Puzzles" differ from a "regular" puzzle. They don't require children to sit down and think in a grown-up way where to fit the pieces. They can place pieces wherever they like, vary the arrangement and play with the pieces while still developing nimbleness in their fingers and experience that not all pieces fit everywhere.
The figures themselves are kept whole, as cut-up pieces in a puzzle don't make sense to children, who still live in oneness with the world around them.
In the Box with Blocks the "blocks" have no conformity. Children can strive in balance, experience the beauty of natural forms, enjoy the grain of the timber and let their fantasy run wild in playing with living forms. Having to work out what works and what not (no conformity, so they have to find the balance) strengthens and develops the child's concentration.
My toys are finished with "Livos Ardvos Universal Wood Oil" a mix of completely natural oils.
These dolls are made according to indications Rudolf Steiner gave. They don't have distinct features, which gives children room for their own free imagination.
The doll is the image of the human being. Children mirror themselves in a doll, imitate what is being done with them or their siblings while at the same time the doll can become a trusty friend. The relationship of the child with the doll can be much deeper than we think.
It goes without saying that dolls are equally important for boys and girls, though some children don't form a close bond with a doll and that is also perfectly normal.
The dolls are made from natural materials only (wool, cotton, silk and are stuffed with sheep's wool) and they are made by hand.
When we make things by hand, we put something of ourselves into it and a child does feel that, you give them more than the material part only.
Children are always touching everything and develop their feeling this way. By experiencing the qualities of natural materials, they can develop a real feeling. Synthetic material is dead matter, scientifically put together, without it's own specific quality.
I was born in the Netherlands, where I attended a Rudolf Steiner School for my primary school years (origin of the doll making). I studied medicine and graduated in 1970, the year we married. Shortly after we migrated to Australia and started our "Ozzie" life in Melbourne.
My medical degree was not recognized as promised, which was a major disappointment that took me years to come to terms with.
When the children were little I started making dolls for them, then for friends and that grew into a little doll making venture. I started giving doll-making classes at home and conducted classes and weekend workshops at other venues.
The wooden toys started when our youngest daughter started school at Glenaeon and I was offered to use the woodwork room for the first few hours in the morning with other mothers to make wooden toys for the Fair. I liked it so much, that I kept going in our garage at home and soon was selling wooden toys as well as dolls. Since those early days I have "upgraded" to my own cedar workshop in our backyard.
I have exhibited at all but the 1st Craft Expo at Glenaeon, the Woollahra Craft Show, Bowral Craft Expo, St Albans Gallery. My toys can be found in the early childhood corner of the Australian Museum in Sydney, playgroups, kindergartens, doctors' and dentists' waiting rooms and a variety of other venues.
What started as a hobby has grown into a full-time job with 100% job satisfaction.
We have four grown-up children, who all attended Glenaeon for their full schooling. We are the proud grandparents (Oma and Opa) of eleven grandchildren.