Economical and ecological aspects
The trees I use grow in our valley. I use alder, birch or linden wood, which grows a lot around us and grows rather quickly. Apple, plum or walnut I use only if they have been cut anyway. So the impact on nature is not too big. After cutting into boards it is dried for one or more years. One tree as seen above make many thousand wooden animals hundred thousand happy hours of playing and one year of work for me.
When I carve my woodbooks, the tree log is split by ax into boards. There is no waste at all. The little trunks above wait to become Nativity Sets or Easter eggs. My woodbooks are the only books which use and spoil no water during production and almost no energy. And they last for many generations. The little waste there is, serves for heating, as you see below, the ash for fertilizing the garden. The animals in the hands of children will have a long life as well, and will never end as plastic waste in the ocean.
Hand work, slow toy.
As there is a movement “slow food” which emphasizes the quality, there could be a movement “slow toy”. I am quite fast in carving but it takes time anyway. So many customers ensure me, they can feel the quality of my wooden figurines. They are warm, the traces of my knife can be felt, they don’t want to be perfect. I am sure: a child, who holds my wooden animal in his hands, will get a closer connection to the animal, to the beauty of nature and to the natural material wood. The price is determined by the time it takes to carve and I try to keep it affordable. This is not easy, because Germany is not a cheap country. I guess some day my animals will be caved in India for instance at a cheaper price. I wouldn’t mind, because more parents could afford it this way. But at the moment I am still the only one, who sells this kind of hand carved wooden animals.
Some machine work is done anyway. Cutting, planing and some sanding is done by machines. I do a lot of it outside, so brother wind makes the cleanup.
The templates are simply made by paper. This way I can adjust them easily from time to time, to improve some details. During the years shapes have evolved which are simple and clear, round and quiet. They can be little bit cute, but not funny and not exaggerated. Animals after all deserve our awe and respect.