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No. 8

D a t e : M ay 2 0 1 5 / D i m e n s i o n : 7 ” x 5 ” / M a t e r i a l s : B i r c h , P u r p l e h e a r t , Wa l n u t


Symbiosis Define “play”

Create an object that will encourage your user to “play” according to your definition.Play is creation. Creating narratives, worlds, and exploring your imagination.


Research Biophilia

“biophilia” — “theory that human beings are inherently attuned to other life-forms. It’s as though we have a deep well of attention set aside for animals, a powerful but uncategorized interest waiting to be channeled into more cogent feelings, like fascination or fear.”

Open-ended toys

Open-ended toys don’t do anything. They don’t ring; they don’t light up when a button is pressed. They don’t play for the child, the child is free to do all the playing by themself. They contain endless play possibilities. The more passive the toy, the more active the playing.


Inspiration Symbiotic Relationships

I wanted to incorporate animals into my project so that it would appeal to children but I also wanted it to teach them about relationships in nature. I was inspired by images of interspecies symbiosis and wanted to represent them in my piece.

C h i Wa r a S c u l p t u r e s

I found images of antelope sculptures called chi wara and loved them. They were used as ceremonial head dresses in West Africa. The mother antelope with the baby on her back insipred me to create a stacking set of antelopes with a bird for each one.


Sketches T h e a n t e l o p e s ; Oryx, Dikdik, and Gerenuk


VAGELLI, age 5 Storytelling

Vagelli was a boy. He wished he could be an animal . He wanted horns, a tail and a fluffy coat of fur, but most of all he wanted to play with all the other creatures on the Earth. He wanted to play with the mysterious Oryx in the plains, the chatty Crakes in the bushes, and the long necked Gerenuks with their heads in the clouds.

Experiential goals

hand eye coordination problem solving group, balance, and pattern


Prototype 1. The first forms are ambigious clay models. They drew me to the act of stacking to represent the idea of symbiosis among a group of pieces. They need one another to function at their full potential.

2. The wooden models got me closer to the final idea of a nine piece set with a main body, set of horns, and a bird for each animal.

3. I made several prototypes from mdf to make sure that the size and level of difficulty in stacking would work well for small children.

4. Once the functionality was figured out I worked on refining the aesthetics and adding visual interest to the overall set.



Symbiosis