Felt toys

Felt Toys Dryad Press book 1935

Dryad Press books are very often lovely. They appeal to the craft side of my brain. They make me want to make things.

This is the third (revised and enlarged) edition of Felt Toys, 1935. Dryad Press was an imprint of Dryad Handicrafts, which in turn belonged to the cane furniture business started in Leicester in 1907 by the juicily named Harry Hardy Peach. Peach was a design educationalist, founder member of the Design and Industries Association and all round good handicraft egg.

Dryad’s first book Simple Embroidery by Elsie Mochrie appeared in 1923. Mochrie was an embroideress trained at Leicester School of Art. Between 1923 and 1931 she wrote over 20 books for Dryad, including this one. It was co-authored by Ivy Roseaman, another Leicester School of Art graduate and Mochrie’s assistant.

The word ‘handicraft’ strikes a bit of terror in the heart of the modern craft cognoscenti. As ‘real’ craft cosies up to the art world – chasing higher prices and more column inches – so the smaller domestic side flourishes without support from anyone except Kirstie Allsopp.

Included in this book are instructions for making a ball, goose, elephant, goose girl doll, monkey and donkey. Plus two rabbits named Jane (in a gingham dress) and Jimmy (unclothed but with carrot). There is no mention of the designer of this handsome cover. Perhaps one of the Dryad authors designed it. Someone versed in lino prints or textiles. And with a steady hand to draw that title lettering.

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