The Life of Kay Bojesen
Born in Copenhagen in 1886 to Ernst Bojesen (publisher of the Danish satirical annual Blæksprutten (The Octopus)) and artist Valborg Rønsholdt, Kay Bojesen had a very special talent that allowed him the skills to "bring wood to life", and gain a glowing reputation worldwide for creating wooden toys that had soul and a sense of humour. Widely recognised as one of Denmark's most prolific artisans of the 20th century, Bojesen started his career as a Silversmith, completing an apprenticeship with Georg Jensen before travelling to the vocational school for precious metal in Schwabisch Gmund in Germany and then on to Paris where he worked as a silversmith for a period.
After marrying Erna Pethrine Drøge-Møller in 1919 and the birth of his son that same year, Kay Bojesen became fascinated with the 'lively' qualities of wood. Making his debut as a toy designer at the Dansk Arbejde Association toy competition in Copenhagen (1922) marked the start of a journey that would lead him to create a host of toys that would radiate humanity, warmth and vibrancy, and that would make people want to pick them up. Not interested in creating lifelike copies of animals or being too sophisticated or detailed, Bojesen focused on designing toys based on a "child's own world where 'lines need to smile'". This simplistic style combined with solid materials has been inspiring children and adults alike ever since.
Kay Bojesen died in 1958 at the age of 72 and is said to have retained his childish curiosity and joie de vivre till the very end. His important design heritage is safe-guarded by his four grandchildren, who chose The Rosendahl Design Group to develop, manufacture and distribute their grandfather's popular designs. Rosendahl have since reintroduced some of Kay Bojesen's most-loved designs, produced on the basis of his original drawings and with great care taken to respect Kay Bojesen's strict standards for materials and craftsmanship.
Here at Utility we view design, functionality and quality materials with the same importance as Kay Bojesen. As official stockists of many of his most popular wooden figures, we're extremely proud to play some part in his continuing legacy.
The Wooden Toy Collection - A Timeline
Click the image below to view the full Kay Bojesen collection.