Shaker Woods Shakerwoods Festival Columbiana, Ohio
Shaker Woods Shakerwoods Festival Columbiana, Ohio Shaker Woods Shakerwoods Festival Columbiana, Ohio Shaker Woods Shakerwoods Festival Columbiana, Ohio

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TIPTON NAYMICK: HISTORIC TOYS REFLECT ARTIST'S LOVE FOR CHILDREN

Canfield, Ohio _ Artist Tina Tipton Naymick began to dream of toymaking as a child playing at Shaker Woods while her parents hosted a food concession.

“I was pretty young when my family started to do the food concession and they felt safe letting me roam the grounds,” Tina says. “I often hung out at Trucker Bob’s toy booth. I think he liked having me there because I was showing other kids what to do with the toys.”

Trucker Bob retired last year and Tina wondered who would take his place?

She decided to try following in his footsteps by making some of the preschool toys she remembered so well. A giraffe and an elephant on wheels. YoYos. Tops. Cloth pillow critters with a semblance of legs. She enjoyed her expereience last year but knew she needed to expand her line of toys to include some toys to attract preteens and teens.

“I know I’m up against video games and electronic media of all sorts, but there’s something to be said for historic family games – a family sitting down together to recreate the way it was when their grandparents were children.”

A rubber band gun or a marshmallow shooter are steps down from the violence of video games and they’re safe enough to use for indoors competitions of various kinds. Small, boxed peg and puzzle games make suitable travel companions.

In order to attract teens and their families to come inside her booth, she’s planning to feature an “outside the booth” demonstration with incentives to come inside and try out the toys. She wants to give a little background on each toy and identify the scientific principles behind the way they work.

In addition to activity-based toys, she will again feature the small bears she makes from felted wool sweaters. She enjoys working with all kinds of fabric and felting is a process that seems almost magical. She buys wool sweaters at thrift and consignment shops and on a free Saturday she sometimes makes the rounds of garage sales.

“Felting takes place when you ‘shock’ the wool by washing it over and over in varying temperatures of water until it shrinks down to felt,” she says.

“This is the fabric she uses to make collectible bears.

“These bears are super soft, especially the cashmere or mohair ones. You have to feel them. No two are alike and their 10-12 inch size lends itself to table arrangements as well as cuddling. Of course they’re machine washable as all my fabric toys are.”

If Shaker Woods was her inspiration, three years of art training at an art institute in Detroit followed by further training for her Batchelor of Arts degree from Kent State, gave her the opportunity to try many art forms. She enjoyed ceramics and taught at a summer day camp. Basic drawing and painting gave her a perspective on scale and dimension. Glassblowing fascinated her, but art forms that involved teaching children were her special favorites.

“On the practical side, I took art education because I love seeing children’s creativity, but art education in schools can involve more paperwork than working with the children.”

Although she isn’t a classroom teacher, her training provided her with knowledge of learning hierarchies that she applies to some of the toys.

“What I call a ‘match game’ teaches children to sort things into categories or sets. I make lot of different sets – animals, flowers, cars, planes and motorcycles. You can use the same sets for playing a Memory Match game. Then there’s history….”

Artist/teacher – Tina will wear both hats at Shaker Woods this summer. Come to her booth and reflect on the joys of the past.

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Shaker Woods Shakerwoods Festival Columbiana, Ohio

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