All good things are worth the wait.
They say good things are worth waiting for. I wouldn’t dare to say this is suitable for all life’s situations, but when it comes to the toys by the MILLER GOODMAN studio, this saying fits like a glove.
I started the cooperation with the Brighton based studio last year. Zoe Miller and David Goodman form a couple whose passion is to design and create beautiful wooden toys. After my Skype call with the talented duo it became clear that our views on quality, aesthetics and functionality of toys are very similar.
“At MILLER GOODMAN we strive to create innovative toys which encourage open ended play. Award winning Modern design classics, for the young and young at heart. We are driven by the art of play and nurturing the imagination. With every toy we make, we thoughtfully try to combine our own desire for originality in design, with the creative, and often abstract, world of the child. We endeavor to do this by producing simple shapes, undefined forms and patterns that encourage and engage children to play again and again. No need for instructions we believe in ‘less is more’ and ease of use when defining our designs. Our toys provide limitless fun.”
Our initial contact sparked an idea to create something together, and I felt sincerely honored to get an invitation to come visit their Brighton studio. I hope I’ll be able to make it there later this year. So again, good things are worth waiting for! But let’s get back to the toys.
Facemaker, Playshapes are wooden toys I started distributing in Slovakia over the past year. These ecological, hand-printed cubes are made from rubber wood. Yes, I also thought rubber wood is used to produce just rubber. Well, you live and learn! Rubber tree typically grows in tropical climates. It has hard and sturdy wood with great longevity. Rubber tree is also resilient against fungus and mould, and its wood does not crack. That’s why it’s so popular with furniture and toy makers.
For all the wood geeks out there it is worth mentioning that this wood is super smooth and sleek after it’s finished; so it’s really pleasant to touch, therefore perfectly suitable for tender children hands. MILLER GOODMAN make all their toys in Thailand. There is no mass production. They simply make a certain amount of toys and then they take 3-4 months off before starting again. I was lucky enough to get most of the toys right away, but the Shapemaker wasn’t available so I had to wait for four months for another batch to be made. When it finally came it was absolutely worth the wait. I have all the products in stock now, which makes me pretty happy.
I’d like to introduce the Shapemaker to you today, as it is a new item in my store. It constitutes of 25 colorful cubes. The size of one cube is 45mm x 45mm. The color itself is non-toxic and ecological, in accordance with the strict European norm - the European EN-71 Test. (Let me point out that there might be some more complicated norms out there - I’d guess they are for building Japanese nuclear plants.) The basic color coat on the cubes shows simple geometrical shapes. Connecting and turning the cubes brings out all sorts of interesting motifs. It’s up to you whether you create a monkey, a crazy clown, or a fictitious character straight out of your dream. The only limitation is your own creativity and your patience.
I recommend this wooden jigsaw primarily to adults who wish to tell stories to their kids. To co-create their stories. Or to create a story together. To share an experience of storytelling brings us back to the archetype of all education, and of all human relationships, whereby the older generations transmitted all their knowledge to the new generations by telling tales. You don’t need video, smarTV, Youtube, iPhones, or iPads to do this. Trust me, these media rob you and your kids of your precious inner space. A child changes from a creator to a passive consumer without a vision of their own; it’s all without their own input. Everything is handed to them on a platter without a need to create. But remember: easy come - easy go.
Yes, we live in fast-paced and busy times. Offering our full attention is becoming increasingly less prevalent; it’s almost a luxury. Yet I believe in the power of creativity. I believe a creative child is happier and better equipped to deal with the occasional hardships of life. I believe that a kid with healthy creativity grows into a creative adult.
The innovative leaders of today benefit mostly from their creativity. This ability allows them to search out new solutions to seemingly impossible problems. And this type of original thinking starts with the power of fantasy. That’s why I think us adults are responsible for protecting and supporting this children’s world, no matter whose children they are.
Innovative storytelling can be the building block of creative growth. You can do this daily, in different ways, and it’s easy to do well! Today it can be a story about a courageous sailor, who embarks on a journey around the world. Eugene the butterfly and Matilda the monkey keep him company.
Whether you get the new Shapemaker or the other toys by MILLER GOODMAN for yourself or for somebody else, you can be certain everyone will be really grateful for this gift. To discover a creative child inside is as pleasant as it is necessary - at any age. I myself play on a regular basis.
Shapemaker , Facemaker and Playshapes are also a great addition to a meeting room table at any creative studio, an ad agency, an architect’s office or a production company. If you’re simply a fan of beautiful things, you should definitely get some of these toys, and so should the gentleman responsible for our Ministry of education. But I digress… I’m going to go play, and I hope you’ll go too.