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Handmade Portraits: Woodmouse

Dec 5, 2008

by woodmouse

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(music by Lineland, Jukeboxer)

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.woodmouse_featured.jpg

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.

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See more posts about the CPSIA issue!

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.

naturalkidsteam_400.jpg

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.

Click here to see the latest on the CPSIA & find out what you can do to prevent artisans from being put out of business.

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83 comments

  • littlebrownpen

    littlebrownpen said 11 years ago

    I absolutely love wood mouse! This is great.

  • julieincharge

    julieincharge said 11 years ago

    Great video and a wonderful glimpse into Woodmouse's process!

  • daniellexo

    daniellexo said 11 years ago

    Beautiful work - love the Natural Kids Team!

  • loulouandoscar

    loulouandoscar said 11 years ago

    I love Woodmouse's work. I felt the same way after my son was born and started making my creatures. Inspiring video!

  • tylr

    tylr said 11 years ago

    Woodmouse is one of the cutest shops!

  • littlesaplingtoys

    littlesaplingtoys said 11 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your inspiration and process.

  • BluCille

    BluCille said 11 years ago

    Wow! Toy making is awesome. I always wanted to learn how to do that. Really neat items! FREE SHIPPING in my shop with the purchase of any two or more items, no limit!

  • flyingzoo

    flyingzoo said 11 years ago

    very beautiful portrait!

  • vaivanat

    vaivanat said 11 years ago

    Great Video.. I have tears in my eyes and love in my heart ..

  • backwoodsophisticate

    backwoodsophisticate said 11 years ago

    This is such an awesome video! I love woodmouse's shop and it is so cool to get to hear and see her on video.

  • jessicajane

    jessicajane said 11 years ago

    lovely portrait :) thanks for sharing!

  • littleloveblue

    littleloveblue said 11 years ago

    awesome! i really liked that! it spoke to my own thoughts on toy making and mothering. great job:)

  • Nishale

    Nishale said 11 years ago

    Great!!!!!!!!!!

  • Shauneil

    Shauneil said 11 years ago

    I think I just fell a little bit in love! ;) Great video....love seeing the process and knowing the "why".....your toys look fabulous. Thanks, woodmouse, for sharing your story!

  • weirdwolf Admin

    weirdwolf said 11 years ago

    I truly love Woodmouse's toys. Simple, beautiful and playful. Visiting Amber's house was like going to Woodmouse heaven. Handmade colorful wooden toys everywhere!

  • timesandchimes

    timesandchimes said 11 years ago

    Oh how fabulous! I love the simple, heart-felt goodness of her toys and of all the items shown! What a great article!

  • katiearms

    katiearms said 11 years ago

    woodmouse warms my heart!

  • aisle3studio

    aisle3studio said 11 years ago

    great Chanukkah playset!

  • mosey

    mosey said 11 years ago

    go woodmouse!!!!!

  • beautifulbridget

    beautifulbridget said 11 years ago

    oh my gosh, the wooden bulbs are to DIE for!!

  • TheSingingBird

    TheSingingBird said 11 years ago

    congrats woodmouse! yay naturalkids team too! :)♥

  • christinececelia

    christinececelia said 11 years ago

    How cute!!!

  • woolcomesalive

    woolcomesalive said 11 years ago

    How wonderful!

  • woodmosaics

    woodmosaics said 11 years ago

    Very nice.

  • gnomefulthings

    gnomefulthings said 11 years ago

    I always love seeing the space others work in. You do such a great job!

  • LittleElfsToyshop

    LittleElfsToyshop said 11 years ago

    Wonderful, way to go Woodmouse. ^_^ *hugs*

  • dmollison

    dmollison said 11 years ago

    Woodmouse toys are absolutely, hands-down, fantastic. I love her style. Way to go Amber!!!!

  • DoSiDough

    DoSiDough said 11 years ago

    Fantastic!! Thank you! :)

  • cozycottagecreations

    cozycottagecreations said 11 years ago

    Yeah Amber!!! This video is so fabulous! I love getting a peek into your life ~ you're a great spokesperson for natural toys! Thanks for all that you do and for putting your beautiful work out into the world!

  • lalaspequenos

    lalaspequenos said 11 years ago

    Yay NaturalKids Team!!!! And yay to Woodmouse for such a great peek into her world:)

  • mamakopp

    mamakopp said 11 years ago

    Wonderful article. Way to go Woodmouse!!!

  • anicastillo

    anicastillo said 11 years ago

    she is so so SO pretty O_O

  • pupa

    pupa said 11 years ago

    what a wonderful profile :) was v cool seeing how others create, thanks for the peek.

  • whimdesign

    whimdesign said 11 years ago

    The dmollison dolls are so adorable!

  • littlecottageshop

    littlecottageshop said 11 years ago

    A beautiful product and a beautiful and simple concept. Nicely done!

  • woodmouse

    woodmouse said 11 years ago

    Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone for your nice comments! Thanks especially to Tara who did such a rockin' job at filming and editing the piece, she can make anyone look awesome, I swear. :)

  • dayanra

    dayanra said 11 years ago

    Great video! Love WoodMouse. But Isnt she from Wisconsin? not Minn.? (in the video she said WI)

  • soduel

    soduel said 11 years ago

    Many wonderful natural play options for our children can be found on etsy. And so nice to see so many creative people living right out my back door!

  • germandolls

    germandolls said 11 years ago

    What a great video! Amber looks so sweet. Just as adorable as her toys!

  • bethela

    bethela said 11 years ago

    Amber! I just recently purchased your gorgeous Nativity scene and absolutely love it. All nice pieces are clearly made with love and care. I can't wait to put it under my tree this year. I don't have children but I am excited that not only does this Nativity look fantastic (my main motivation to buying it :)), but also when my neices and nephews they can play with the pieces without a problem. Beth

  • pennyspug

    pennyspug said 11 years ago

    Great video. I love your concept and your work.

  • 1canoe2

    1canoe2 said 11 years ago

    That was so sweet and wonderful! I love her work!

  • FaerieRebecca

    FaerieRebecca said 11 years ago

    What a great video of Amber. I love getting a peek at other people's workshops/work spaces :)

  • DawnAliceDesigns

    DawnAliceDesigns said 11 years ago

    Wonderful video! It is so great to see the process and hear about the toys from the maker. We have one of Amber's toys and we love it! Yay toymakers!

  • southernbellesandbow

    southernbellesandbow said 11 years ago

    You did a wonderful job and even made me look back and remember some of the fun handmade toys my grandmother would send to us! I love seeing other artists and seeing/hearing their thoughts and workshops ;0) Beautiful job Amber!

  • tlwoldc

    tlwoldc said 11 years ago

    What a great video! So inspirational. Keep up the great work. :)

  • flashframe

    flashframe said 11 years ago

    I love it so much! Thanks for sharing, woodmouse!

  • ageratum

    ageratum said 11 years ago

    Woodmouse - what a great name. Your idea is the best! Keep up the good work, kids need more toys like these! :) Donna

  • TheBlackSpotBooks

    TheBlackSpotBooks said 11 years ago

    soooooo lovely!

  • jodieflowers

    jodieflowers said 11 years ago

    I love woodmouse! I adopted one of her robots! My son and I love him! Woodmouse Rocks!

  • Lumpkin

    Lumpkin said 11 years ago

    great portrait. i love watching these. this one was especially fine

  • sopsop88

    sopsop88 said 11 years ago

    I loved the video and concept of open ended toys

  • JLMould

    JLMould said 11 years ago

    I am from Wisconsin too! I love the idea of her toys. Thank you for sharing! Jessica Lynn

  • birchleafdesigns

    birchleafdesigns said 11 years ago

    Such a lovely article and video! It is nice to peek into the windows of others' lives!

  • haddy2dogs

    haddy2dogs said 11 years ago

    Just so cool! Amber I love your work.

  • LaCometaLab

    LaCometaLab said 11 years ago

    Thanks for such a treat! I totally relate to woodmouse's philosophy and I also loved discovering not only her fantastically beautiful toys, but the Natural Kids Team. I will completely have their pieces in mind when buying a present to kids in the future.

  • kimmiekuz12

    kimmiekuz12 said 11 years ago

    I've just recently made my first two purchases from the woodmouse, and I'm so smitten with her work! I just watched this video, and I think it's so cool to know that I'm one of her many customers who don't have children. What a nice little peak into her world. Thanks!

  • cozyblue

    cozyblue said 11 years ago

    go woodmouse, go! great video - thanks for sharing it. i purchased a custom family several months ago, and it is one of my very favorite purchases of all time!

  • soulyluna

    soulyluna said 11 years ago

    A+wesome!!!!!!

  • PoPkO

    PoPkO said 11 years ago

    this was a gorgeous video, and very inspiring too. thank you for making it. ***but don't forget to wear your eye protection when you are using the saw and grinder ARGH! your eyes are very valuable!

  • simplylovlee

    simplylovlee said 11 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and your process! So inspiring! Really cool toys!

  • planetdestiny

    planetdestiny said 11 years ago

    Inspiring and kind...

  • JeweledAmbrosia

    JeweledAmbrosia said 11 years ago

    what a beautiful video, thank you

  • lisahopkins

    lisahopkins said 11 years ago

    I loved this video!

  • CraftZany

    CraftZany said 11 years ago

    Very cool! really enjoyed watching this!

  • seababejewelry

    seababejewelry said 11 years ago

    What a beautiful story! Such great creations, love the Inuitt play set!

  • modernbird

    modernbird said 11 years ago

    Amber, I loved seeing you speak about your process and ideas, you are wonderfully inspiring! Thank you, Laura

  • pinkpurse

    pinkpurse said 11 years ago

    Just so charming!

  • Sacheen

    Sacheen said 11 years ago

    Amber is a wonderful seller with a top-notch product. She spoke so eloquently about why natural is best. Thanks for bringing us a glimpse into her life and art.

  • cheekyboo

    cheekyboo said 11 years ago

    :)

  • Schmutzerland

    Schmutzerland said 11 years ago

    Aww I really loved this video! Its so sweet! And woodmouse is sooo cute! Aw great story! I love her work!

  • museglass

    museglass said 11 years ago

    that was awesome to watch! great behind the scenes glimpse. i love the toys and the purpose behind them!:)

  • Alljazzedupboutique

    Alljazzedupboutique said 11 years ago

    A little bit of retro. I love the toys.

  • signsofmylife

    signsofmylife said 11 years ago

    so sweet - so cute - so simple - so fun - so earth friendly - thank you woodmouse so much for your great products!

  • KellesKitchen

    KellesKitchen said 11 years ago

    I just say, this is one of the coolest Storque stories I've seen yet! I loved the video, thanks for sharing your creative process! We had a great set of colorful wooden blocks when I was younger - I love the idea of open ended toys! So true.

  • ravenwren

    ravenwren said 11 years ago

    Another amazing L.A. artist! I hope we can plan a big get together soon. I want to meet you all. <---------L.A. girl here!

  • CountenanceJewelry

    CountenanceJewelry said 11 years ago

    What a great story! The video was even more interesting because Amber is so articulate. Really enjoyed watching it and will be checking out her shop for purchases for my granddaughter.

  • MissFiKingdom

    MissFiKingdom said 11 years ago

    I love the idea of open ended toys. Wooden toys are a great way to get way from the plastic in legos. I bet her workshop smells great... wood shavings and melted beeswax!

  • BabbidgePatch

    BabbidgePatch said 11 years ago

    Wonderful!

  • Owlshop

    Owlshop said 11 years ago

    Classic toys where imagination is the central engine.

  • brianslittlegirl

    brianslittlegirl said 11 years ago

    woodmouse is so awesome!! :D I was lucky enough to be one of her early customers, and the two toys I bought from her for a little one I was nannying (and the set of ornaments I bought for myself) are still favorites, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. :)

  • babook

    babook said 11 years ago

    The video it`s so good to knew a mama work !! Like it this video : )

  • My Homepage said 5 years ago

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