My husband returned home from an overseas work trip with these beautiful treasures of wooden animals. They are aesthetically captivating, so very soft, smooth, light as a feather, and lovely-to-hold. You wouldn’t even realise they were wood at first. Perfect for tiny hands, with such lovely undulating curves, and the most fragile little hand-painted lines which bring such character and happiness to each animal. Monochromatic but not bold, they are work as both toys and as decor. I instantly loved these animals, so my curiosity was peeked. Let the desktop research begin…
Each T-Lab Polepole animal is hand-crafted in Indonesia, skillfully carved by hand out of an incredibly soft, non-composite natural wood called Albizia. It is a light, sustainable wood grown on T-Lab’s own farms in Indonesia. This tree is one of the quickest growing tropical trees. Because of their rapid growth it is thought that these trees are more sustainable.
Polepole is pronounced ‘poh-leh poh-leh’ and translates as ‘slowly slowly’ in Swahili, referring to the careful hand-carved process used to craft each animal.
The workshop artisans first cut a rough form of the animals on solid wooden boards. Then these are dried in an oven for a long time. After that, these are finished by hand, polished with sandpaper to become super smooth. Finally, each animal is hand painted and finished in Japan with the sweetest expressions and patterns. It is very difficult work that only an artisan with excellent technique can finish but it is also why each animals has such unique facial expressions.
I love that the T-lab website says :
Please enjoy our heart-warming animals, after all, the one that you hold in your hand is the only one in the world quite like it.
I couldn’t agree more! And if you would like to see a happy little video of Polepole animals, enjoy this!
And of course, I now want the whole collection, so it is great to know that our beloved Cloth Shoppe and Scout & Co sell the animals. Little alpacas, sheep, and a teeny bambi too! So very sweet! I guess we will now have three animals collections in our home (Schleich, Ostheimer and T-Lab!)…
And clearly may husband knows the way to my heart. #woodenanimalsforthewin.