WEEK THREE ~ Thursday 9th of August 2018
This is technically my first post, mainly because there were struggles with trying to compile thoughtful and creative elements together on a single webpage, my brain likes to categorise things sometimes, although it also seems to thrive on the concept of chaos (mess, clutter). This is my second ever 'blog' post in my entire life, not typically something I saw myself doing, especially as an incorporated element of my practice (I need to think of a better name than blog - blog is gross (I'm not here to sell oils, share words of wisdom or yoga poses)). But this might act as a helpful tool in trying to look back at my thought-patterns when trying to justify (I don't think I mean justify) the things that I am making or writing. As looking back is often as helpful as looking forwards. So here we go!
*My throat is swelling up a little, I know no one will read this but I still feel anxious.
A few weeks back now, at my workplace in the toyshop - we had on display a little build and play drill driver set. Curvaceous like an Erwin Wurm bubble car, and colourful like a typical baby-toy (lets talk about this later - why are children's toys so aesthetisised?) the aim of the game is to build a transport vehicle, be it a race-car, train, helicopter or plane with all the loose parts and screws. This is a wonderful toy for fine motor-skills, as well as a lot of focus on 'technology and engineering' as well as imaginative play. Great. Perfect. What more could a parent ask for? The colours are gender-neutral, the curves are soft and beautiful, holding a certain femininity to them whilst undertaking the work of a mechanic. However, there was one really crucial point here that made them undesirable to sell: The suggested age range was listed from 3+. Three and up you say? Thats pretty broad, well no, actually, not when the general public simply see the number three and decide that its for a three year old, and their four year old is far too talented to play with 'baby-toys'.
This is something that I have been struggling with for some time now, I know for a fact that most 3yos would have great difficulty with this toy (not that this is a bad thing, I would almost encourage it) but from what I would see day to day was children, ranging from the age 4 or 5 'til a whopping 11 or so would be entranced by this toy, building and constructing every element until completion, ignoring the rest of the barn-roofed store in order to complete the build. "Stop playing with the babies toys" I would hear from the front of the store, from disgruntled parents who couldn't understand why their child was being so focused and engaged. "Thats a boys toy" this statement would make me squirm, repulse obvious in my furrowed brow, forgetting that it is my job to just laugh it off and smile.
Theres a gap in the market, I decided to myself. Children wanted to simulate building, but with outcomes of their own. As I worked that day I began collecting information about what it is that I believed should exist, and what I would have loved (but wasn't around) when I was a kid too. I remember not being allowed to use tools for a long time, but I loved them. My fondest memory was actually when I found an old discarded carpet stripper, somewhat like a rusty Stanley knife. I picked it up and began stripping back a block of wood, until I had fine tuned my design so neatly to create a heart ornament. I was covered in shavings, and probably cut myself a couple times, but that wasn't important. I managed to communicate from my brain, to my clumsy hands, to an exterior life force who would create what I had imagined. It was a gift. Drills were too powerful for me though, I couldn't handle the torque. Roaming around the store I decided to find all the drill-like toys we had, all except for the baby-looking 'build n' play' set all the other drills looked more realistic however their attachments failed to do anything (but spin).
My favourite of course was the little mini Bosch drill driver, it was actually super realistic, I've used the adult version many a time. I ended up buying, and have decided to make usable attachments for them, perhaps it will line up with the 'make & do' cardboard connecting series, or other plastic screw sets, or perhaps I could make it in metal and it can actually be used on real screws or nuts or something... I'm not sure, this isn't like a money-making scheme, the 'next-big-thing' on the market, I have no interest in that. I just think that some of the toys that are out there could be better or more useful or interesting, and maybe I can help.. That project has fallen stagnant, perhaps I will pick it up again soon - but for the meantime the baby-Bosch drill sits on my lounge room coffee table, precariously placed between a bottle of heinz tomato ketchup and an Ajax lemon spray and wipe, adjacent to some nail polish remover and the crust of last nights garlic bread. These details might be important, they might not, whose to say.
From this point ~ I would like to lend to some writing that I did last night for some break down elements for my chapter outlines, it was post-shower, as most my thoughts tend to be.
What are you trying to say?
Your words aren't making sense.
Language is a tool. For communication. A tool for receiving and transmitting information. A tool for creating a obtaining knowledge. Knowledge is power. But also learning provides safety within the structures of traditional educational institutions and establishments. Language is safety. Language is power. Mis-communication is prevalent. I talk through my hands.
Machines & Mechanisms are a tool. A literal tool. But gears and cogs are also a symbol, of understanding, processing, synthesising knowledge of how things work. I like trying to make mechanisms work because while focusing on this I understand other things that lay outside of the task at hand. Problem solving. Machines have the ability to communicate too, but they typically misunderstand or misinterpret traditional language. Code is the correct lexicon, but there are ways to push these boundaries.
Play is a tool. For understanding and interpreting, making sense of non-realities which is a formative method of communication. And cognitive growth. Cognitive Growth is knowledge. Tools are a tool... tools can also be toys.
Probably to be continued..