Depression Toymaking.

5 Jan 2009

I just want to share some links about Depression toymaking ( that is the Great Depression of the 1930s) I found on an Etsy forum discussion. The links were shared by Trinlay at Silly Kitty and it is fascinating.

There is of course a long history in many countries of women banding together in difficult times to make and sell or donate toys to brighten the lives of children and to keep themselves busy with a meaningful and pleasant task.
Those who have read Nella Lasts war will remember that she was a toymaker who sold her toys through a charity shop during the Second world war.
And our own CWA as well as Mother's Clubs and so on have a wonderful history in this area.

I think this is something I would like to find out more about - a New Year's research project.
I would love to hear anything you have to say about your own charity toymaking experiences, either as a maker or as a recipient, or toys that your mum or gran or auntie or neighbour made for you or your family.

Here are the links.
(click on the highlights to see some wonderful photos)


Oh, and on a slightly different tack, I just remembered this site that I found before Christmas and thought was a wonderful idea for all those sad unloved dolls you see at the op shop. I presume that this project, which I think is US based, will not be able to continue when the new toy legislation comes to pass.

6 Responses to “Depression Toymaking.”

  1. This is such a wonderful idea. My daughter and I have tried our hand at making a very plain and basic rag doll. So many of the children around us have requested one.

    We're really in a rural area and I just don't get my hands on a lot of used dolls, but I will start looking. Even if I can't resuce one, it would be a nice project for my daughter and I to make one for someone in need for a Christmas gift.

    Thanks so much for sharing this site.

  2. While I was living in South Africa, our group of church knitters made 'Teddies for Trauma'. These were distributed by paramedics to children in trauma situations - car accidents, robberies, abuse scenarios etc. The surprising feedback we received though, was how these humble Teddies were also given to AIDS patients who were also desperate for some kind of comfort.
    If a simple knitted Teddy Bear can bring so much warmth to a sad situation and each knitter in the world could contribute just one item per year, imagine what a difference that could make to the hoards of needy people in the world...a world-wide-net of kindness. What a lovely thought!

  3. ps - I just want to quickly add...that the elderly knitters involved were given a whole new lease of life with this project. They produced works of art with bits and scraps of wool and developed a whole new community spirit by forming little knitting circles, plus re-igniting purpose in their own lives...such a positive outcome. Sue

  4. That is a wonderful story, sue. I had heard about trama Teddies.Isn't it amazing that something so simple has so many far reaching effects. i heard about a dollmaking project some time ago for child AIDS patients in South Africa some time ago and now you have reminded me to find out more about it. Thanks.

  5. Your post reminds me of the dolls, a boy and a girl, my mother purchased for me in Hong Kong when we were stationed there during the Vietnam war.... I have this still to this day and they are precious to me. She said she never would have thought one day I would return to China to bring home three treasures. ;) They mean even more to me now.

    Have you ever thought of "restoring" old dolls as these?

  6. Thank you for the links Jenny this is interesting, I will have a look. best wishes Julie.C


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.