The perfect gift for kids

Written by on November 6, 2012 in Kids, Toys & Gifts - Comments Off on The perfect gift for kids

As the holiday season is approaching, every possible medium presents us with the most amazing – but often most useless – mass-produced plastic toys to put under the christmas tree for our little ‘angels’. Although I admire in a way the incredible ridiculous ideas ‘toy inventors’ can sell to their boards, it makes me a bit sad to see  the cheap looking, soulless stuff most stores are packed with. I love discovering that artisan doll with hand made clothes, or a wooden train with beautiful painted details. Maybe I’m a bit of an old fart, but I think the best toys – and gifts for that matter – have a story.

One great gift with a story is the limited edition hand-painted, silk-screened Fijian Baby Zaishu, only available online at Reform School, an L.A. based gift shop that carries responsibly made or recycled/reformed art products. A  Zaishu is a portable, simplified seat / table / box that slots together without nails, screws or glue. Usually, they are covered with patterns, designs and cultural texture from around the world on sheets of plantation grown veneer. The smaller edition is called the Baby Zaishu.

This particular baby Zaishu is a result of an amazing project called TribeWanted – an online social network that is building sustainable tourist communities in some of the most beautiful places in the world. This Zaishu finds its inspiration from  an island called Vorovoro, Fiji. Working closely with the Mali tribe, the TribeWanted members spent time on the island learning about the traditions of Fiji, and sharing their knowledge on what it means to be green. Each month, the TribeWanted membership elects a “chief” who is given a small budget with which to take on a legacy project. Kaz Brecher, an LA-based visual artist, approached Zaishu and Reform School a year ago about collaborating on this project.

As the elected April Chief, Kaz set out to work with the tribes to produce a limited edition of 50 Baby Zaishu chairs. In order to capture a broad swath of the artwork and patterns in Fiji today, patterns were selected from the oldest tradition of masi, or stencilling, the northern woven mat patterns, and the symbol of modern Fiji – the ubiquitous bula flower patterns.

By using silk screens, Kaz was able to include people of all levels in the production. In addition, she used the project as a means to stimulate discussions about traditional and modern arts in Fiji as well as what it means to produce products sustainably.

Now that is a gift with a story!

Approx 8.5″ sq x 12″ tall. Ships flat packed. All proceeds benefit the Mali District School, supporting arts and sustainability education. $195.

 

About the Author

Charlotte

Founder of Allmygoodness. True believer in the goodness way of life. Sustainability & communications consultant. Foodie. Mother of a girl and twin boys.