Brooklyn-based ceramicist Eleni Kontos eschews traditional chess pieces for unconventional and otherworldly figures in her handmade chess set. Featuring dyed clay pieces and a board with hand-painted gradient details as well as ebru marbling, this set acts as both unique decor and a fun take on a classic game.
Design studio and book publisher Actual Source partnered with NYC-based graphic designer and illustrator Kurt Woerpel to create this bold blue frisbee. Manufactured by Wham-O, the 10.5-inch diameter disc features an illustration of a comic book with eyes, along with Actual Source’s logo in whimsical script and three words in classic lettering.
The Winding Road is a platform founded by Marla Showfer, who traverses the globe to partner with and present small fair trade artisans. For the Magic Mushroom Playhouse, Showfer worked with a family-owned workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal to create a pastoral felt world, replete with a mushroom-shaped cottage and mouse finger puppet. With a design evoking fairytale art, the playhouse inspires whimsy and imagination.
These colorful, vibrant and playful cards have been designed by Heart n Soul at The Hub co-designers Aysen, Castro, Rajah, Robyn and Thomas in collaboration with artist Felix Peckitt. 100% of the profits from sales go back to Heart n Soul, a creative arts company and non-profit that focuses on people with learning disabilities. They aim to create opportunities to uncover, develop, share and celebrate their talents. Their roster of artists work on various products for purchase online, but are also available for commissions. Price is in Pounds.
These playing cards by Takenobu Igarashi, which were first commissioned from the artist by MoMA in the late 1980s, have never lost their charm. Igarashi—a Japanese-born educator and graphic designer who founded and taught programs at Chiba University and Tama Art University in Japan and the University of California, LA—plays with negative space to create elegant and timeless designs. Piatnik produces these reproductions of Igarashi’s cards in red or black.
Made from 100% recycled fabrics and materials, Dog Ear’s pet toys are each entirely unique and crafted by hand. Founded by Lu Williams and Emma Edmondson during the beginning of the pandemic, the brand aims to not only encourage dog owners to enjoy being outside with their pooches, but also to combine “contemporary art publishing and sculptural dog toys.” Available in three sizes, every ball features different colors, patterns and textures to keep your dog entertained. Price is in Pounds.
Faith Ringgold’s 1996 work “The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles” depicts eight iconic Black American women (Madam CJ Walker, Sojourner Truth, Ida Wells, Fannie Lou Hamer, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Mary McLeod Bethune and Ella Baker) as well as Vincent van Gogh and a fictional character named Willia Marie Simone (a frequent heroine of Ringgold’s quilt works, and perhaps her alter-ego). This piece honors and celebrates Black women, their achievements and traditions with bright colors and glorious shapes and patterns. The significant work has been made into a puzzle for those who want to spend time admiring it piece by piece.
As a pioneer of performance art (whose work doesn’t shy away from pain, blood or pushing limits), Marina Abramović is well-versed in endurance, concentration and overcoming mental and physical blocks. As such, her 30-card set—The Marina Abramović Method—incorporates exercises that the artist developed to aid in her preparation for intense performances, and aim to help users confront challenges, remain present and unlock higher creative potential. Each card features an instruction (one being “complain to a tree”) that corresponds to a stage in Abramović’s career. Used alone or with friends, this set is a unique tool for training, expanding and growing.
Beckon to a black-capped chickadee, goldfinch and American robin with this trio of handmade bird call toys that aim to bring children closer to nature. Crafted in the South of France by the artisan toy brand Quelle Est Belle, the three wood-and-metal items arrive with thoughtful, easy-to-follow instructions inside a wooden storage box.
From the heirloom-quality South German toy brand Gluckskafer, the Castle Block Set is a vertical puzzle produced with wood from the Linden tree. The bright primary colors (drawn from non-toxic, water-based paint) lend each block—and the non-traditional, but still fairytale-like castle as a whole—an even more imaginative presence.
Like all San Fransisco-based CAT HAUS items, the Dazzle cat toy is handmade to order by shop founder Lora Lombardi. Available in either the “patchwork rainbow” or “chaotic neutral” color scheme, this toy comprises a carpet affixed to wood from which a puff ball sits atop. Made to be slowly destroyed by your cat, this toy aptly dazzles them with movement and fuzzy, funky textures.
With 250+ parts, this robot kit (intended for children age 10 and over) is perfect for aspiring engineers and DIY enthusiasts. Kids will learn spatial reasoning and engineering knowhow while building their robots, which can be assembled, dismantled and recreated over and over. Beyond practical skills, children will develop their imaginative and creative abilities, too. Entirely solar-powered, there are no batteries needed—just sunshine and an inquiring mind.
French designer Laurence Calafat elevates a humble, classic toy with this 16-piece set of architectural blocks. The hand-sanded, untreated lime wood provides a pleasing look, while also offering an enjoyable tactile experience. Available in City (rectangles), Bauhaus (curved, geometric shapes) or Factory (trapezoids), there are innumerable creations to be made.
Mason’s Planets Handmade Sidewalk Chalk features each of the nine celestial bodies from our solar system (yes, including Pluto). All of the orbs are composed of multiple layers of color that are revealed through use. The Pennsylvania-based brand that produces them, TWEE, donates $2 from the sale of each set to benefit autism research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Sculpd’s lamp kit provides rookies and experts alike with the opportunity to create the lamp design of their dreams. Using the comprehensive bundle—two kilos (4.4 pounds) of air-dry clay, bulb with fittings, white paint, varnish, pottery tools, sponge and brushes—the possibilities are endless. The amber spiral filament bulb emits a vintage-inspired glow and is dimmable. The kit also comes with illustrated instructions and there are online tutorials for extra help. Plus, there should be enough clay leftover for a few more creations.
The Wireless Express Sing-A-Long microphone is covered in pink crystals and features a speaker decked in different LED lights to fully embrace the razzle-dazzle and spectacle of karaoke. Bluetooth-compatible, it works with most karaoke apps and connects to a smartphone, tablet or computer via Android and Apple systems. There’s also an SD card slot to access your personal collection of songs. With volume settings, an echo function and song control buttons on the microphone’s base, this glittery device is the perfect accessory for an extravagant, at-home performance.