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.
A question on our facebook page this morning (www.facebook.com/SebaDizajn) prompted me to add descriptions to all the photos in our ‘Action at Seba Dizajn album, something I had been meaning to do for sometime – thanks Bryce for your question.
Part way through I realised I was writing a short jewellery making story and have decided to share it here in a little more detail. The photo to the left was taken in our store (Seba Dizajn), in Croatia earlier this summer. This photo shows Adolf Seba (aka Doka) heating silver coils, when silver is heated it becomes softer and easier to work with.
To create the filigree beads or balls a frame-work is shaped from the silver wire;
The floral shaped framework is then soldered together.
A very fine silver wire is used to create the various patterns seen in our beads – each is unique, although a popular pattern can be repeated and we often create a pair of beads to be used for earrings.
I hope you are beginning to see some of the work that goes into creating each of our beads, this is going to be a four part post. Remember you can subscribe to our blog in the box at the top right. And if you don’t want to wait for the next installment head over to our facebook page where you can see these photos and more in our ‘Action at Seba Dizajn’ Album – please hit the LIKE button while you are there.
If you have any questions about our jewellery making please leave them below and I will reply to you.
I am learning more and more everyday, and loving it. What I have found the most interesting is the vast, possibly endless amount of free information and advice that is available on-line, it’s amazing. There are so many helpful websites and blogs for me to refer to, I just have to find them! The links to links and tweets to links are constantly being updated, and I have spent more time on-line this last week than I ever imagined that I would (or could).
This very short post is my thankyou to everybody offering advice, answering questions and generally sharing ideas and advice just because they can.
For anyone that is new a newcomer to Social Media I would like to recommend any of the 30 Challenges offered by Nikki Pilkington, I have learnt so much in a short time from these well pitched and easily followed Challenges, an additional thanks to you Nikki.
This photo is of school girls eager to learn in Nepal, in my previous job we raised funds for two additional classrooms for this school in the Kathmandu valley, enabling village girls to continue their education without having to leave home.We are about to launch our Seba Dizajn Christmas shopping website and 5% of all sales will go towards purchasing school uniforms for village girls whose families are unable to afford the uniform.
Our shop is tiny, we have a small display window outside that showcases a few of our unique Seba designed pieces of jewellery. I often long for a great big window, both so that I can see out and so that passers by can look in and see that we create jewellery RIGHT HERE. It is so nice to have the chance to share our passion for filigree with visitors to Korcula and we have met some really lovely people here at Seba Dizajn. It is especially nice to see our young visitors enthralled as they watch jewellery being made – we have a few children wanting to stay long after Mum & Dad are ready to leave which is funny.
This morning we met a lovely group of Americans who were here on a chartered yacht trip, 20 friends sailing in Croatia for a week, understandably they were having a fantastic time. It was so nice to start my day chatting with them, this bracelet in our window display was what drew them into our shop;
It was nice to be able to explain some of the filigree techniques used in making the bracelet and for them to be able to watch something being made was a special experience.
Coincidently when I opened my email after this group had left I found a message from a customer that was here in June asking about a price for this same bracelet!
I have travelled reasonably extensively in the last 12+ years, often giggling at a silly sign, mis-translated restaurant menus etc. Sometimes a sign just makes me smile for no particular reason, or reminds me of a dear friend, the ‘Senzy Bakery’ in Kathmandu unsurprisingly reminded me of sweet friend Senz.
I wish I had taken more photos of these signs on route. Here are two of my favourites;
Remember, the simple pleasures in life, don’t let them all pass you by!
And don’t forget to sign up and leave your comments here if you are interested in more of what makes as smile here at Seba Dizajn. Cheers, Ruth