Robert Race Magic made from Driftwood

Robert Race, toy artist from Bradford on Avon, is walking along the edge of the canal near Chiswell and is collecting driftwood. And he quotes from Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene: ‘Shortly upon that shore there heaped wad exceeding riches and all precious thins, the spoyle of all the world…

Robert Race himself:

"I try to make things that move in simple but interesting ways. Moving toys have always been made all over the world from wood, bamboo, clay, paper, string, wire, leaves, feathers and so on. These traditional toys have been a strong influence on my work, and I have travelled in Indonesia, Mexico, India and Japan in search of them. There are various pressures leading to their disappearance today, but they are still to be found in many parts of the world, sold on the street or appearing for fairs and festivals.

At their best they achieve a vigorous imagery and make ingenious use of really simple mechanism. The makers of these toys have also been constantly inventive in their use of materials. They have cleverly exploited the properties of whatever natural, re-used and recycled materials were readily available to them. I try to do the same and at present particularly like using driftwood because collecting it gives me a good excuse for going to the seaside."

Robert Race has been a full-time toymaker for over twenty years. Starting with dolls' houses and miniature furniture he has subsequently concentrated on moving toys and simple automata, which have been widely exhibited in Britain, Europe and beyond.