child wonder: kotok toys

child wonder: kotok toys

 

We are proud to kick off our Child Wonder series with Xusha Shishkova, the founder of one of the most exciting toys company we know of, Kotok. Created in St Petersburg (Russia) by Xusha and her husband, these happy 60s-inspired toys are lovingly made by local craftsmen, preserving a centuries-old tradition of toy-making in the region of Nizhny Novgorod. We love them as play things as much as decorative objects for us grown-ups to stare at! 

Anorak: Do you feel like you are doing the job you were intended to do?

Xusha: Yes, it looks like it! I can’t imagine myself without drawing or creating something by hands. There aren't many things in life that make me feel so totally peaceful, calm and complete. The process of creation - which we have a beautiful word for in Russian cозидание is a form of meditation for me. It makes me very that happy to know that designing traditional wooden toys with my husband is my job! I’m also grateful for the feedback we receive from people. 

Anorak: Describe a happy episode of your childhood that connects you to the creative person you've become.

Xusha: My childhood was spent in a very small Russian town in the 90s It didn't have many attractions, so we had to travel to get some culture. I remember how delighted I was when we visited big art galleries and museums in Saint Petersburg, where I live now with my family. Seeing the works of Russian Avant-Garde painters or Expressionism art was a real revelation to me.

Anorak: What story/book do you associate with your childhood? 

Xusha: When I was a child, I was attracted by folk fairy tales of different cultures, full of fantastic characters. They often were weird or even scary! 

Anorak: How do you keep creative and full of wonder now as a grown-up?
Xusha: Doing crafts with my 3 years old daughter: we draw a lot, make collages and sculpt funny characters from plasticine. With her, my creative process becomes so natural and intuitive, just like it does in childhood. One of my favourite games with Kira is when we turn ink shapes into animals, characters, creatures or objects with felt pens. 

Thank you Xusha!