Tartu Toy museum presents a temporary exhibition in Vilnius Toy museum

We are very happy to announce that our colleague and a very good friend – Tartu Toy museum –
is opening the temporary exhibition on the 2nd of October, 2015 in our museum.
The exhibition Estonian Toy – Tradition and Contemporary Days introduces the Estonian folklore toy heritage and the present-day toys inspired by the patterns of folk textiles.

The Estonian farm children’s games were for centuries connected with the surrounding natural environment and farm work. Toys were mostly made of available natural materials – wood, bones, cloth, rushes and clay. Also cones, leaves, haulms, little stones i.e. all items at hand were also used for playing. The toys made by children depicted people, animals, households and other objects of everyday life. Sometimes children plaited various figures out of rushes or strips of peeled birch bark and cut whistles out of twigs. Small models of tools and utility articles, puzzle-toys developing hand skills and quick-wittedness, fabric dolls and other more intricate toys were made for children by their parents and grandparents.

The ethnographic toys which have preserved up to this day date back to the first half of the 20th century, few of them date from the end of the 19th century. It is also possible to learn about old farm children's games by reading the memories collected by museums. Few toys can by seen in old photographs. The copies of traditional toys displayed at the exhibition come from the collections of the Tartu Toy Museum.

The other part of the exhibition introduces contemporary toys inspired by Estonian folk art, which were made by the Department of Estonian Native Crafts of the Viljandi Culture Academy of the University of Tartu. They are not traditional toys for the most part. Instead, Estonian folk art patterns and worldwide-known board games have been used as a fresh source of inspiration in creating them. In addition, the creators of these toys have attempted to revive the handicraft techniques, which have started to drift into oblivion. Animals with glove and stocking patterns, embroidered, knit and felted board games as well as embroidered dolls and palm pets demonstrate the beauty of our ancestors’ handiwork and instigate the people of the present day to make toys themselves.
Throughout the ages, Estonian mothers and grandmothers have
made dolls  for their children from  simple and gettable materials. For
making a bandana doll you only need a piece of cloth and yarn. Nowadays
children can transfigure bandana doll into a modern character ? batman,
princess,  or some fantasy creature.
Many games of Estonian countryside children were closely
connected with nature and the rhythms of work of the family at the farm.
The toys were mostly made by children themselves from available natural
materials: wood, bones, bulrushes, clay, cones, leaves, blades of grass,
stones ? anything was suitable for playing. In this workshop we?ll guide
how to make toys from straw, for example horses, boats and dolls.