We are Athina from Greece and Jose from Spain, creators of The Wandering Workshop. We design and craft high-quality wooden toys from our studio on Ios, a small island in the Cyclades. Our toys are an invitation to a world of imagination for both children and adults.
Archeology brought us to the Cycladic islands. I studied prehistoric archeology and was working on an excavation in Kea when Jose and I started making our own furniture in our friend’s workshop. One afternoon, surrounded by materials, tools and music, we had the idea for our first toy, the flying tricycle. After some months of work, we managed to make its red helices turn using a system of wooden gears that Jose carved. Since then, we haven’t stopped imagining, designing and handcrafting toys.
We love experimenting with forms through sketches and collages in notebooks, which eventually lead to cardboard models and then wooden prototypes. We think about how a child would assemble our toys, which brings an educational value to the process of playing. Finally, we work on the colors, which is a fundamental focus of our work; we believe that the combination of form and color is a strong stimulus for children’s imaginations.
The Wandering Workshop is the physical manifestation of our dreams, vivid imaginations and love for well-designed objects that are made to last. Memories of our childhood, travels and stories we’ve heard inspire us when we design a new toy. We also love kids’ illustrations and the fantastic world of beautiful picture books. Outside, the ever-changing Aegean Sea and the sense of freedom that it offers creates an ideal environment for coming up with new items. The minimal lines of the local architecture, along with the traditional white and blue color palette, inspire us to make clean and simple forms.
Etsy gave us the opportunity to make our dreams a reality, and helped us find a creative and dynamic audience for our toys. Even though we live on a small island, our toys have reached distant places. At the moment, we work in a small but sunny workshop in our home. We dream of a sunny, spacious workshop right in front of the sea, full of toys, materials, tools and music.
All photographs by The Wandering Workshop.