Children

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To Cowslip Farm
I have long admired the wide children’s borders, also called friezes, designed and produced in the early twentieth century, prior to the Great Depression in 1929. Cooper Hewitt has a fair collection of these with the most popular being Winnie the Pooh, produced ca. 1926, coinciding with the release of the book by A.A. Milne...
Free Universal Construction Kit: Interoperability in Children’s Toys
Can a children’s toy function as a subversive agent of anti-capitalism? Possibly. The Free Universal Construction Kit is a set of design plans for nearly 80 two-way adapters capable of joining together individual parts from ten popular brands of construction toys, allowing for interoperability between otherwise incompatible construction toy parts.[1] Available for download at no...
Let’s Play Ball
With the culmination of baseball season upon us, it seems appropriate to turn our attention to this cheerful wallpaper from mid-century. Play Ball shows a single repeat of an ongoing baseball game printed on a light tan background. The scene is extremely dynamic as each figure engages with the action on the field. At home...
Children Go Modern
From the time she arrived in the United States from Budapest in 1913, Ilonka Karasz was a force in New York City’s creative circles. Karasz’s oeuvre is diverse; over the course of her sixty-year career, she created furniture, textiles, silver, wallpapers, ceramics, and illustrations. Between 1925 and 1973, Karasz illustrated 186 covers for the New...
Where Did You Get Those Peepers
Peepers is a wallpaper border designed with children in mind. It is less infantile in design than other children’s papers so will not be so quickly outgrown and can be and can be paired with another wallpaper or used alone on a painted wall to create an inexpensive decoration. The amorphous figures get smaller as...
Oranges and Lemons
This delightful sidewall for a nursery is the work of Dorothy Hilton, a late Victorian designer of which sadly little is known. She was based in Birmingham and had a sister Agnes who was also a designer. Articles in the Studio record that she exhibited at the 1899 National Competition of the South Kensington schools...
Playing with Modern Design
The Wobblies show their wobbliness, which is cleverly illustrated on their box by faint wavy blue lines. Interestingly, there are two definitions of the word wobbly. The first is “inclined to wobble; shaky.” A Wobbly (capitalized) is also “a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, an international, revolutionary industrial union founded in Chicago...
Call for Adventurers
During the 1920s and 30s, child-rearing experts pointed out the negative effects of mass recreation, especially movies, to the growth of American children. They argued that as passive spectators, children would likely bring home images of glamour and a sense of the social power of consumer goods after attending movies since what they saw in...
Living in a World of Nursery Rhymes
As one of the best-known British decorative artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Walter Crane’s design touched upon the fields of books, textiles, wallpaper, stained glass, and ceramics. Children’s education played a considerably important part in the subject matter of Crane’s book illustration and wallpaper designs. In 1875, Crane (1845-1915) was commissioned by Jeffrey...