Saturday, December 07, 2013

Solar-Powered Mona Lisa

Last night at Midnight Madness, the Ann Arbor downtown sale and pre-Christmas celebration, I found a beautiful solar-powered Mona Lisa at a charming shop, Peaceable Kingdom. Here she is, my Kikkerland Mona Lisa, waving in the late afternoon sun shining in my window today. As a long-time collector of Mona Lisa objects, I can say that this is not one of the best 3-D Mona Lisa renderings I've ever seen, as her neck is rather long compared to my interpretation of the original, and her expression is a little more that of a saint than of the Mona Lisa I know. But as a whole, I'm thrilled by this new addition to my Monas.

Coincidently, earlier today I came across the Kikkerland name in another context: a New York Times headline: Quirky Kikkerland Opens Its First Retail Store The article says this: "The shop ... offers the company’s entire collection, including lightning-bolt-shaped power strips and bottle openers resembling Mexican wrestlers, along with products from other manufacturers."

Kikkerland Shop from NYT Article
But wait...It seems that I've bought many more Kikkerland items than I realized, over the years. Recently, I've bought three tea robots that hang on the edge of a cup -- also from Kikkerland. All were gifts for tea lovers:

Kikkerland tea robot from
Getting curious, I took a look at, fascinating website of the company. Several of my favorite robot windups are also their product. I took out some of these robots to play with last winter. Here's a photo:

Windup robots from my collection:
Kikkerland designs are at far right and far left, as well as the long-legged one in the center and the one with the scissors type handle (whose x-ray once caused the TSA to open my bag and check for an actual scissors).
See the one with really long legs in the photo above? I bought it in the late 90s from a museum gift shop. It's one of their first windup robots, according to the history on their website. Further, the wind-up pencil sharpener I bought last month at the Chicago Art Institute to give as a gift is another Kikkerland design. Reading the website makes me think I've been a customer of this indeed quirky company almost since they began making windup toys. 

Best obscure fact about Kikkerland: it's a New York company founded by Dutch immigrants, who called it Kikkerland because that's a pet name for the Netherlands. It means frogland.
More of my solar Mona: the back of the package and a side view also in the sunlight.
I completely agree with this statement from "Since 1992, the folks at Kikkerland Design have traveled the world in search of original designs for things that can make life more enjoyable. Clever things to intrigue you. Smart things that make everyday tasks easier. And gentle things that make you feel happier when you use them." I've ordered myself one of those Kikkerland wind-up pencil sharpeners to make life happier.

1 comment:

Jeanie said...

This is great! I never heard of him, but I think I like him! Love your wind-up collection. When I was working I had wind-ups in the office. Every now and then when I was blocked, I'd start them up. I don't know if it made me more creative, but it was a nice break in the action!