Friday, June 20, 2008
Classic art toys
I was asked when I started to draw and the question made me think about some of my earliest memories of drawing. Not structured academic drawing, but simply drawing or creating for pleasure. I remember from the age of 5 or so always colouring or creating something and that stayed with me as time passed. When other kids were outside playing, I would be the one inside creating and decorating theatres out of shoe boxes with elaborate sets, characters and backdrops.
There were also a variety of toys that I had which fed my need to create. These may bring back memories for some or be completely new to others.
When children's Give A Show projectors were the rage in the 1960s, I had one. Not content with the slides that came with it, I scrounged pieces of hard cellophane from packaging, created cardboard slides and drew my own stories on the clear surface. I wish now that I could see some of those early efforts at around age 10.
Etch A Sketch. Remember those? Yes I had one and used it til it wore out. Here's an online version for those who want to try their hand at producing something. Was this the early version of the graphics tablet?
Visit Etched in Time to see George Vlosich III's amazing Etch a Sketch art.
You can still buy Etch A Sketch toys.
Spirographs came into existence in the late 1960s and they fed right into the psychedelic patterning of the 60s. I recall making endless patterns in colour or black and white with piles of patterns stacked up in my bedroom or posted to the walls.
If you want to create patterns, or treat a child in your life the Spirograph is still being produced. Check out Ebay for lots of spirographs for sale.
Obviously, toys that bring out creative skills tend to become classics and are used by generations of families and have appeal to both old and young. With the tendency for the thinking to be taken out of life these days and the McDonald's 'instant' gratification needs, we often overlook basic, simple toys that help minds develop ideas and explore possibilities.