As Black Friday dawns and Christmas shoppers start the hunt for gifts at bargain prices, a group of artists are encouraging people to breathe new life into old toys – rather than throwing them away to make room for new ones.
Over the last few months we’ve been collaborating with artists Ludic Rooms have been touring the streets of Knowle West with a toy trike, collecting unwanted toys and games and recording the stories behind them.
We discovered that, a month before Christmas, many people take stock of their toys and games, throwing old ones away to make room for the new gifts they’re buying or expecting. Items are often in a useable condition or can be easily mended.
With funding from the Bristol 2015 Neighbourhood Arts Programme for Green Capital year, we ran a number of ‘toy hacks’ where children and families worked with artists and technologists to make new toys and games from the donated items, transforming them into something that everyone could enjoy.
A broken garage for toy cars became a wildlife haven as it was remodelled as the Minibeast Hotel. A solitary bike wheel and some wooden beams came together to form a balance board. Hundreds of broken character toys and fast food freebies were reborn as new exciting action figures.
Working with Ludic Rooms we’ve also produced a series of short films recommending simple and affordable ways to recycle old toys. These will be launched online on 27th November – to coincide with Black Friday.
Melissa Mean, Head of our Arts Programme, said: “There’s another side to Black Friday: as well as the shopping and buying, lots of toys and games are discarded that could easily be transformed into something new. We hope The Forgotten Toys project will encourage people to see “junk” in a different way and try out our easy and fun ways to reuse old toys. If we just use our imagination, we can reduce the amount we needlessly send to landfill, bring people together, and create something playful and fun in the process.”
Dom Breadmore from Ludic Rooms said: “We’ve been really inspired by the stories and playful memories of the people we’ve met whilst out on the toy trike in Knowle West. We’re really hoping that this project will inspire families to look again at the toys that we all consider throwing away to see the forgotten play potential in these objects – often beyond how they were intended to be used. The only limit is our collective imagination.”
Watch the films on Facebook from 27th November.
For more information visit www.forgotten.toys or contact KWMC on 0117 903 0444.