Inside Out (Australia)
3 OF A KIND Meet the makers of these cute timber toys
Give little ones locally crafted pieces to cherish this Christmas
Noc Noc organic wooden ring stacker
DESIGNER: Heather Norris After she and her family moved from bustling Sydney to picturesque Lennox Heads on the NSW north coast, designer Heather was less than inspired while Christmas shopping for her niece, which led her to ask: “Where can I find highquality, natural and non-toxic toys online that are beautiful and sustainable?” Noc Noc was born in January 2015, starting with imported handmade products, but soon making its own toys with the idea of crafting future heirlooms as the key creative driver. Heather’s partner Simon has even taken on the role of Head Toy Maker after finishing up a full-time role. “We now have a successful small business that surprises us daily,” says Heather. The stacker, and indeed all of the toys, are handcrafted in their Lennox Heads studio from beech, acer and ash timber, with the smooth finish of the hardwoods perfect for babies’ gums during teething months. “Our ultimate inspiration is nature itself,” says Heather. “Natural timber is so beautiful and tells such a unique story – no two pieces will ever be the same, which adds to their personalised, keepsake status.” $45, nocnoc.com.au.
Milton Ashby helicopter
DESIGNER: Shannon Ley With a background in automotive engineering, it’s no surprise that Shannon chose to design a selection of planes, cars and helicopters in his timber toy range, which also features penguins, koalas and fish. “After trying to buy gifts for friends’ kids on a few occasions, I was surprised to find that no-one was making pieces that were beautiful, stylish and a little bit special,” he says. “So I decided to make them myself!” Inspired by Scandinavian minimalism, his designs aim to find the essence of the real-life item. “I love that we’ve managed to capture the look of a real helicopter while maintaining that beautiful, minimal form,” says Shannon. Each toy is handmade in a Melbourne workshop. “Our toys start as planks of wood and are cut, drilled and sanded, then oiled or painted with non-toxic paints or varnishes,” he says. “They’re then personalised with the child’s name and birthdate, if desired, and assembled.” The final flourish is complete when the toy arrives in a chic metal container, which is as stylish as the toys themselves. $55, miltonashby.com.au.
One Two Tree ‘Little Aussie Treasures’ toy set
DESIGNER: Lucy McNamara Sydney-based designer Lucy and her partner were on the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree back in 2011 when they decided instead to make their own sculptural eco-friendly timber tree, which led to the creation of One Two Tree. “Today, our bespoke products are made from premium-grade Australian hoop pine plywood, grown sustainably in managed plantations in Queensland,” says Lucy of the extensive range, which includes toys, message boards, shelves and art prints. “When it came to the Little Treasures set, I wanted to create some playful characters that paid homage to our Australian roots, while highlighting our iconic native fauna,” says Lucy. “Each little animal is CNC-routed by our two dedicated craftsmen, ensuring smooth lines and precise cuts, then carefully hand-painted and finished.” Her favourite part of the creative process is the joy that comes from playing with the pieces. “They instantly make me smile when I see them,” says Lucy. “They are a tangible, playful product – perfect for little fingers to hold and interact with.” $89/assorted set of 5, onetwotree.com.au.