Russel Wright for the kids

12 Mar

Hi friends. Image Last time we spoke, I had a toddler.  Maybe even an infant.  Six months or so later, we’re in full KID territory.  And in that move from crib to toddler bed, from squeezies to go-gurts, and from tossing to outright *throwing* (balls, forks, tantrums), my interests as a mom have changed slightly too.  So expect me to cover fewer “isn’t that cutes” and more “will it last”s over the next few months.

Image So back to the story.  We’ve got a kitchen (of course, this one: KidKraft Kitchen).  And we’ve got the nice wooden play food from Melissa & Doug and the crappy plastic stuff from the dollar store (that the dog really loves crunching on).  But no plates or tea sets for my little boy.  And every little boy needs a tea set.


Enter Russel Wright (Ideal vintage advert, above).  Mummy has her own set of this lovely, wonderful, beautiful tableware, why not Fionn?  For the uninitiated, imagine Russel and his wife Mary the disciples of Frank Lloyd Wright and the predecessors to Charles & Ray Eames.  Or in more modern terms, they were Martha before Martha even started organizing her dolls.  In a truly fortunate marriage of equals, Russel was the industrial designer and Mary was the promoter.  He had a vision of introducing high quality design to the post-war generation – at the dinner table – and she has a vision for marketing it as a guide for ‘easier (not better or simpler) living.’

They wrote a book to that effect, their mission (as it were) to “liberate readers from the stiff dinner party, the formal tea party, and fussy houses that ‘make scolds out of so many women, who are constantly after their families to keep coke bottles off the coffee table, feet off the sofa'” (via the Cooper-Hewitt guide to their exhibition).  So what better way to celebrate the freedom of casual life then by getting my son an entertaining set of his own? I promise I’ll try not to force the fork on the left or move the spoon to the right when he’s not looking. (I have been known to do this.)


There’s a set currently up for auction, but I won’t tell you where until Wednesday.  (If you bid against me I will be very unhappy.)  The pieces are exact replicas of the teapot, cups and saucers, creamers and sugar bowls I, myself, collected as engagement gifts to Fionn’s dad.  They’re on display most of the time, though we take them out for use on special occasions, the irony of which I am supremely aware.

So if you find the plastic Russel Wrights, snap them up. They’re a lot nicer than anything you’ll find today.


2 Responses to “Russel Wright for the kids”

  1. McKinley Williams November 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    this is one of the best russel wright blog posts i have ever read. i am an avid russel wright collector (i own a few pieces of this ideal toy set) and find your commentary too funny. nice work and i am reposting on our russel wright facebook group soon. please come join us and hang out for a while.

    • youngonesdesign November 21, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

      Thank you so much! What a nice thing to say. Hope to catch up on FB soon!

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