Rosario Calandra at Ventry Toys
I'm Rosario. I'm Italian. After my classical studies in Italy ( "You should be an History & Philosophy teacher!" as my mother doesn't stop reminding me :-) ) and a couple of wandering years I've made Kerry my new home since '98- nothing like a lady in a splendid place to stop a rolling stone. In 2007 I set up Ventrytoy to unite my love of drawing, working with wood and imagination in a day job. Ventry is the village in the west of Ireland where I live with my woman and our two little girls.
Being paid to draw and craft a wooden Noah in the likeness of John Huston! Where would you get it? I'm a lucky man in more ways than one. I use only Sycamore, Ash, Beech sourced in Ireland from environmentally run forestry or wood offcuts from the furniture workshop where I work part-time (and learn much from a professional cabinet-maker).
I use only water based child friendly stains and paints, the strongest odours in my workshop is those of coffee and hardwood sanding dust.
My drawings and designs are all my originals ( as original as one can be in a craft as old as the Lascaux Cave paintings anyway...). I try to give my toys a nostalgic flavour by using mostly stains rather than paint, and avoid 'glossy' unless asked by my customers or in some particular pieces ( usually in toy boats...).
My best loved toys are the Fairytales, Xmas and Celtic stories 3D Jigsaws, by kids and adults alike.
The Arks and Cribs are popular too: great scope for imagination there and most of the pieces sold are custom orders.
My toys are certified for health and safety as by the EC standards EN-71.