The Museum of Childhood – inspiration and a mysterious woodland clearing

Well this looks like your average party in TheBigForest  – invite a few friends round in bear suits, someone in a particularly shaggy suit beaks out with a penny whistle and then the usual mess when an  ostrich crashes the party, hogs the dance floor and drinks all the best beer!

Actually this wonderful surreal image is from a Victorian lantern slide at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, London.

It’s one of our  favourite places and if you haven’t been we really do recommend  a visit. It works well with kids, grown ups get misty eyed gasping ‘I had one just like that’ and you can see all the toys the rich kids had but your parents couldn’t afford (or were too sensible to buy he adds hastily as our parents read this blog!). The final reason why this museum is a ‘must visit’ place is that if, like us,  you are a designer/maker then  it is a wonderful source of inspiration – we always leave with lots of photos and full sketch and notebooks with ideas for new animals for TheBigForest.

If I had one small gripe its the labeling – fine you don’t want academic chapter and verse on every exhibit but lots of exciting bits and bobs lack any real history and simply remain a mystery although we’ve found you can learn more if you got to the website.

I will leave you with a dark and mysterious  image of a toy theatre. Here the label is excellent and tells us that it is a Viennese Theatre made by Matthius Trentsensky in about 1825.  The sets and figures were added by a  Father and his five daughters in 1870. They made these at home. It made me want to tell the story about these people who found themselves in a clearing deep in the forest, who were they and what has happened to bring them to this magical place? So thank you Matthius, and the unknown father and daughters, who crafted this beautiful forest scene.

About TheBigForest

We are TheBigForest. Two silly artist makers creating in felt and paper construction. Like us on Facebook: TheBigForest. Find us at Twitter : twitter/TheBigForestuk

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