Below are some of my 'Eccentric Productions' toys and games that I used to make and sell all over the place, and no, I am NOT making any of them for you.
CHESSBOARD JIGSAW. Someone I employed left because he got so fed up with saying 'It's also a jigsaw'. Visible lines going SW to NE, are, from the left, Nessun Dorma joined-up sheet music (going behind the two turquoise pawns), badly-drawn music to Annie Lawrie, The International Date Line and the Mississippi. The obscured line on the right (under the white pieces) was always my local no. 23 bus route from Stirling to St. Andrews. The lines in the NW - SE direction are just different types of squiggles.
This is a Venus Flytrap folding backgammon set. There were three versions with different parasitic wasps, all with such revolting habits that they seemingly persuaded Darwin that an omnipotent God would never have created them. They lay eggs in live caterpillars and the resulting grubs gradually eat the hosts to death, leaving the vital organs until last. The point is that, as my son Andrew remarked, they shouldn't lay down their lives for their babies if they are going to get squashed all day in a backgammon set. This one was Mr. Matopius, drawn from a specimen in the National Museum in Edinburgh. And no, I am even more certainly not making you one of these. Or the Shark and Angelfish backgammon set. Or the cat & cockatiel one. Or even the roundish sea anemone and clownfish one.
. . . and they once had an exhibition of all my animal and bird puppets at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, but unfortunately they wouldn't fly me over there for it. I used to sell the games to posh shops and galleries like Bergdorf Goodman in New York, The Yale Center for British Art, High Museum of Art in Atlanta etc. etc. Picture above is of a Flappy Birdie stick puppet. Photo by Sunnyside Studios nr. Dunfermline.
Although I have taught a fair amount of English and music as well, my best job ever was teaching Craft & Design in a school for dyslexics in Scotland for seven years, using the huge workshop the rest of the time for my 'Eccentric Productions' toys and games production. And then in 2003, to help with design workshops, I was awarded a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to travel round eastern Europe for two months visiting my toymaker buddies. I have used it lots! Note the Door Spider at the top of the picture - its spinning wheel moves round as it goes up when the door it is attached to is opened. Ok, sometime I might re-engineer these and make some more. But not today.