Until the early twentieth century, bought toys belonged almost exclusively to the wealthy. As methods of mass-production improved, however, more affordable toys were made available. These transformed the toy market in Wales and elsewhere. Toy factories were opened in great numbers, and as their marketing and advertising campaigns became increasingly high profile, they reached children of all social backgrounds. As a result the simple folk toy became surplus to the requirements of most youngsters, who stopped making their own toys and saved their pennies for the brightly-coloured, decorative and more fashionable shop-bought versions.
Although home-made folk toys are often regarded today as somewhat quaint and quirky, in recent years a growing number of craftsmen have begun to turn their hand to toy-making, perhaps in reaction to the large number of factory-made items shipped into Britain from elsewhere. Despite the continuing dominance of commercially-made toys, most people would agree that home-made objects possess a more enduring appeal, for who could deny the innocent and timeless charms of such items as a knitted finger-puppet or a painted peg-doll? The unique individuality of hand-crafted pieces and the care and patience that have gone into their creation undoubtedly tell us more about the maker than a mass-produced Barbie or computer game ever could.
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St David's Day Dinner in Swansea 1818
Patchwork cot quilt
Saint Dwynwen's church, Llanddwyn Island
2011 - Cor Godre'r Aran's Bala concert programme
Cor Godre'r Aran
© Casgliad y Werin Cymru, The People's Collection Wales 2011
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