When we talked about opening a small store in Korcula, Doka and I talked about the range of products we might offer alongside of his beautiful traditional filigree jewellery.
We wanted to offer a range of product different to the other stores in town and products that highlighted a wide range of Croatian artisans skills. We also wished to add a selection of Fair Trade products from Nepal – the chance to continue supporting Nepali producers and community development in Nepal is important to both of us.
Today I am going to share a little history of the traditional wooden Croatian toys that we sell at Seba Dizajn;
Hrvatsko Zagorje in the northwest of Croatia is recognised as the home of Croatia’s wooden toy heritage. The distinctive style of wooden toy making and painting originated in this area in the 19th Century and is preserved today in a number of villages.
As with other traditional arts and crafts the toy makers craft was passed on from generation to generation, while the number of families that carry on the tradition today those that do are proud of their skills and produce a fantastic selection of colourful toys.
Interestingly the wooden toys are generally handmade by men, while the hand painting of the toys is mainly done by Croatian women.
Natural, child friendly paints are used in the toy production with red, yellow and blue being the dominant background colours, floral and geometric shapes make up the distinctive patterns on the toys.
The current range of toys includes about 50 different items including flutes, various animals, trucks and dolls house furniture. The ready availability and popularity of cheap plastic toys and dolls has seen a
stagnation in the production of the traditional wooden toys.
We have been delighted to share the tradition, place some small orders and help share these toys with visitors to Korcula and Seba Dizajn, and further afield – we have just posted a horse and cart, truck and aeroplane to some customers in Canada!
What was your favourite childhood toy? Or favourite toy of the moment? Would love to hear from you.