We are Jose from Madrid, Spain and Athina from Crete, Greece, the creators of “The Wandering Workshop”. After living for some years in Barcelona, where Athina studied Archaeology and Jose worked as a conservator, we moved to the Cyclades, Greece. It was a dream that came true, to do Archaeology and live in the small and beautiful Cycladic islands, where we have been living for the last 4 years. We love being surrounded by the sea and enjoy experiencing the transitions of nature as seasons succeed one another. We currently live in Ios, a small island in the southern Cyclades, working in a very interesting prehistoric excavation, making toys in our studio, taking care of our garden and enjoying the sea!
We have always been making things with our hands, in fact, Jose studied sculpture in Madrid, and in the places we were living we often made our own furniture for our home. So, making our first toy came up in a natural way. Our “flying tricycle” was a sudden but a very clear idea! We wanted to make a wooden tricycle with red helices that would turn around once the tricycle would start moving! The afternoons of that winter, we were working daily in a very special friend’s workshop, by the sea, until we had our first model done, that enchanted everyone would see it! From that point, we never stopped imagining, drawing and creating toys! It became a way of life and a dream for us, named “The Wandering Workshop”!
Our studio is small but colourful and cosy. Very quiet and sunny, surrounded by nature, and very close to the sea. The process of creating a toy normally starts in our heads, any moment of the day. We then directly share our ideas and enthusiasm! Quite often both the form and the colour of a new toy are already defined in our head. But still, the process is long.
We both start drawing to give a form to the idea we have in our minds. We discuss a lot about it and we then make a few cardboard models. It is a material easy to work and it gives us a quick idea of the volume and the form of the toy. If the result is satisfying to both of us, we then make wooden models and finally experiment with the colors. This might be a long process as we always seek for a specific tone and we do not stop until the result fits our idea perfectly. Some times we need to let the model aside and take some distance from the process. Or we change its position in the house many times during the day so as to see it among other objects, while doing other things. It’s just a way to change perspective and gain a fresh look at it.
The final and inescapable part of making a new toy is …. Athina sending pictures to her parents, and then calling them. They are always the first to see our toys!
The places we live have always been a great inspiration to us. The never -changing blue of the sea, the sky, the clear and minimal forms of the Cycladic architecture… Our studies and work have also affected a lot our relationship with the hand-crafted object- its colour, form, texture, and the story it hides in its broken parts. Touch is very important to us as we have always had a direct physical contact with the object of our work, be it ancient or modern. Kids’ illustrated stories are also a great source of inspiration. When we were kids we could both get lost in the pages of a book. And we still do. We have a collection of childrens' books and we keep on buying in every journey we make. We love Elena Odriozola. We adore her colours, forms and the sensibility she expresses through her illustrations.
Our plans for the future, is to make “The Wandering Workshop” grow, designing new toys, producing and trying to promote our work. Our dream is to keep on making toys in a bigger and well- equipped studio by the sea, to enjoy this experience and live it in a complete way! And keep on travelling!
Thank you Jose and Athina for the exiting story!
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