The button police
The button police

OH DEAR. I’m feeling rather guilty and a bit forlorn. I’ve just been contacted by a certain on line shop as to whether my Hamish, Clarris’s and Lobelias are approved by the… (regulators of such things) as child’s toys. I had a sneaky suspicion this issue was lurking in some back alley waiting to pounce. The aspects, I suspect, which might be highlighted as desperately dangerous for child health will be button eyes and apparently lanolin content in wool, but my button eyes are quirky and lovely and unusual and very thoroughly sewn on. I don’t want to attach some tepid fluff version for babies. Anyhow, I ate a 2 pence piece when I was a baby and Ruben ate a pin and they passed right through! And lanolin? What’s that about? Can someone please clarify? Human beings have been wearing wool since before they were upright, is it an eczema thing?

OK (she says with a resigned sigh) I’m going to have to consult with the powers that be. I suspect they may have to be labelled not for under 3’s as I am not prepared to sanitize and dilute interesting and quirky art/craft for bureaucratic pacification. I suppose I could always adapt the toys for baby munchers if need be.

Anyone else got any experience on this matter. Advice please?

On to a brighter note…my Eco motives order is now finished. Hurray! So I’m going to give you a wee exhibition of all items including the dreadfully dangerous, buttonoxious, lanoliscious soft toys. Aaaaaagh

Leaf Coffee cosy
Leaf Coffee cosy
Grass Coffee cosy
Grass Coffee cosy
Berry Coffee cosy
Berry Coffee cosy
and the back (of the grass one)
and the back (of the grass one)
Berry cushions
Berry cushions
Grass cushions
Grass cushions
Leaf cushions
Leaf cushions
Clarris (Beware the eyes!)
Clarris (Beware the eyes!)
Diedre (Beware the brush of a wool crest!)
Diedre (Beware the brush of a wool crest!)
Hamish (beware the point of a woollen ear!)
Hamish (beware the point of a woollen ear!)
Lobelia (beware pink!)
Lobelia (beware pink!)
Seamus (beware lanolin!)
Seamus (beware lanolin!)
Berry tea cosy
Berry tea cosy
Grass tea cosy
Grass tea cosy
Leaf tea cosy
Leaf tea cosy
Wrap, table runner or bed runner. Versatility rules OK.
Wrap, table runner or bed runner. Versatility rules OK.
and another one.
and another one.

So, if any of you just can’t resist then all will be available at an online store called Eco motives which should be up and running shortly. I’ll keep you posted on that one or give me a ring/ send me an email and I’ll make something up for you.

Oh, and forgive my sarcasm, I know, ‘It’s the lowest form of humour’.

x Sarah

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Posted by:mogwaii

Born: 13th March 1969 in Edinburgh Star sign: Pisces Where do I live? An beautiful island called Lismore Who with? I live with my gorgeous man - Yorick, and my beautiful boys Ruben (currently 14) and Tom (10) and we also have cat poppy, cat Bashy and cat Spyro. What do I do there? Water veggies in the polytunnel, loads of mopping up, picking up clothes, cooking and washing dishes. The rest of the time I'm in a blissfull state in my studio making things out of wool and designing the next must have (in my head!) and a lot of cycling to and fro My favourite Books: Right now...empowerment books like "The power of now" and "The Secret", but also John Fowles "The Magus" and "The kite runner" and I love the "Tao of Poo" My Favourite films: Babettes feast, Wings of desire and The colour of Pomegranites. My favourite music: Bach cello suites for designing, Dolly parton for making (especially her album Little Sparrow), Teddy Thompson and loads of other stuff! What did I do before moving to Lismore? * Went to school in Edinburgh (South Morningside primary then St. Mary's music school and then George Watson's) * Went to Brazil for a year, fell in love, learnt Portuguese and spun a lot of wool * Studied foundation in visual arts in Manchester poly and then went on to study BA Hons in textiles at Goldsmith's college * Made felt hats, sold them at Camden market and then eventualy Liberties and had Ruben in the midst of it all - moved to Pathhead * Tom came along and I stopped making hats. sung lots of Jazz, taught Brazilian and samba singing, recorded an album and started singing with La Boum * Tom went to school and I set up Mogwaii * Moved here in 2006 There you go!! xx Sarah (from left) Ruben, me and Tom (from left) Ruben, me and Tom

9 replies on “Button police!

  1. hi sarah, i am so pleased to have discovered your blog, i was showing it to my husband the other evening while we were watching an old episode of ‘coast’ that was covering the west coast of scotland!. anyway, soft toy safety testing is a real kettle of fish, and mostly covered by your local trading standards department. you may, however, not want to contact them, as when it comes to areas of art and design, they are not very well informed to say the least!. from my experience, if you have one particular design you wanted to market, you can have it laboratory tested, which will cover strength of seems, flammability, etc, there are places in the uk that do this but it can be quite costly (there is a company called ‘noo noo’ who specialise in pure wool comfort blankets and toys who have very much gone down the child safety route, their website has some info covering what they have had done).

    with the things that i make, i am veering away from using the word ‘toy’ altogether, preferring something like soft sculpture instead, implying it is something more ornamental. but just to be on the safe side, as like you, as a child i also swallowed a coin, i use really tiny buttons for eyes. hope that helps!

    i love your work by the way : )

  2. Don’t apologize for sarcasm, it’s what keeps me going in this world! haha! Lanolin is supposed to be good. I can’t imagine kids would be allergic or anything….

    Anyway, everything here is amazing. You have impeccable craftsmanship! I need me a coffee cozy, too. I think it’ll inspire me to use my French press (or cafetiere!) more often 🙂 And the pleated pillows. Love!

    “wool crest” hahahahaha! A good post to read when you’re ready to fall over, for sure.

  3. I posted about this very thing a few weeks ago. I can’t really help you as I chose to stop making toys (there was someone in England last year had her stock impounded in a pre-Christmas trading standards raid)
    I asked about at the time and potential problems were my use of wool,& recycled fabrics. I didn’t even use buttons! Seemingly it wasn’t even enough to sew a label on.
    However – the CE process is meant to be simple and it is self certification I think – and may be worth it if you make a lot of the same thing.
    good luck,
    J
    x

  4. Do some research to cover yourself.
    Personally I couldn’t let a child near any of your lovely creations as they are far too nice for yukky kids to cover them with snot and stuff. I am sure most of them are sold to adults who have never grown up fully…..

  5. i just get so frustrated. so soon we wont be able to buy a fork without a warning and age limit.
    lanolin can irritate some people, but you can still buy woolen jumpers with no ‘do not wear near children or allergy sufferers’ on them. anyone with a lanolin allergy would know to avoid real wool.
    As for the eyes – they would be an issue for children’s toys. To avoid this mark somewhere on your packaging/label ‘this is not a toy’.

  6. Hi Sarah,
    Fabulous collection. Do babies not wear wollen cardigans with buttons anymore? Are all these Grannies lovingly knitting for grandchildren on the most wanted list these days? Just mark them ‘not to be sold to the wool police, only loving wool friendly families allowed to adopt’ (No animal testing Please!) Sadie x

  7. FREE
    Seamus, Lobelia, Hamish, Diedre and Clarris from eye and skin testing (eye testing very painful). All signatures welcome
    Sadie

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