Traditional Manufacturing of Children’s Wooden Toys in Hrvatsko Zagorje
Wooden children’s toys are recognizable traditional products of Hrvatsko zagorje with a long history. Precisely in this area, a peculiar production of toys was developed in the 19th century and it has been preserved in some villages such as Laz, Stubica, Tugonica and Marija Bistrica.
All these villages are on the route to the greatest pilgrimage site in Croatia - Marija Bistrica. From very simple reed toys, the assortment widened so that, at times, one hundred and twenty different toys were produced. The method of their production was passed on from generation to generation in some families and has been kept to this day. The peculiarity is that they are handmade by men and mostly painted by women. There can never be two completely identical toys since each one is handmade. The material used is soft wood from the area, willow, lime, beech and maple that craftsmen hew after drying and then cut and shape it with the help of wooden or cardboard models. In painting they use eco paint and their base colours are usually red, yellow or blue. They paint the toys with floral and geometrical ornaments. Today, about fifty types of toys are made, ranging from various reeds, tamburitzas, animal toys and objects of common use.