Saturday, 25 September 2010

Plastic people

After the miniature postcard people in the last post, I'm turning my attention to another set of figures -- tiny plastic personages.

Green around the gills ... this sailor is 1cm high
Over the years I've collected quite a lot of little coloured figurines, mainly from crackers. Blue seems to be the most popular colour:

The largest of these -- the elf drummer on the left -- is 4cm high. The smallest are about 1cm high.

I love the sporty cats:

What completely blows my mind about all these figures is the process involved in making them. People presumably went to art or technical college, learned design skills and also about the manufacturing methods. Then they got jobs in designing these characters, moulds had to be made, colours chosen, production lines set up with machines turning out thousands of each, and yet they are utterly pointless and inconsequential. They exist in the world more or less meaninglessly, functionlessly, but they are made nonetheless. And made with detail, with humour, with tenderness.

lovely shades of green

The baby is 1cm high with a little pot belly and a solemn expression:

I feel that, by loving these creatures with their roughly extruded bodies, their leaked flaps of extraneous plastic flesh, I've given a little bit of meaning to the process of making them, which, otherwise, would somehow exemplify the monstrous excess of the global economic system.
That sounds silly, and of course it's meant to, but I still kind of mean it.

I'll be your dog (1.5cm high)


Kitsch and Curious said...

You've hit on so many of the things I love about little plastic toys. The designing of them in particular is one of those things I often think about! Do you remember that was Tom's original job in The Good Life?

Jane Housham said...

I had no idea that was Tom Good Life's job -- how appropriate!

menopausalmusing said...

Brilliant to see these little things here..... I always wondered why some of them had little loops on (as if they were meant to be hung up!).

Jane Housham said...

Yes, I think the loops were so they could be used as charms. Very sophisticated!