Toymaker Amber Dusick aka woodmouse has her wood shop in her garage in downtown Los Angeles. After the birth of her son, this one time farm girl from Wisconsin became nostalgic for the toys from her past: simple, natural toys that would inspire creativity and imaginative play, made from materials that wouldn’t stick around in a landfill for thousands of years.
After years of silversmithing, throwing pottery and drawing with pen and ink, Amber finally found her medium in wood. Using sustainably harvested woods, non toxic paints and beeswax along with her wood burning tool, Amber was able to transfer the look and feel of her previous pen and ink drawings to wooden toys.
Woodmouse, founder of the Natural Kids Team, is an ardent advocate of sustainable toys. The materials used are all natural and her toys are 100% compostable. Her imagery is reminiscent of of a child’s crayon drawing come to life in wood.
Amber, like other Etsy toy makers and sellers of children’s items, is fearful that as a sole proprietor she will not be able to afford the stricter regulations of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA); the cost of testing and certification is likely beyond her means. She told Etsy, “I’d be more than happy to have each of my toys tested, if it wasn’t so cost prohibitive. It is the COST involved in testing that will shut us down, it isn’t that anyone refuses to have their work tested.” The CPSC recently proposed a 1 year delay of required testing and certification, in part because of artisans were able to get their voices heard. But this means we need to use the coming year to write to our Congresspeople.