About John Cervenka

toysI consider toys as objects d'art - where so much imagination and technical know how is involved in their creation.

Being a professional theatre stage designer, working many years for drama and opera companies here in Australia and overseas, and used to prepare models of sets and props I was curious to explore the making of toys of my own design.

Originally creating a piece only for myself and my wife, however later seeing interest from collectors I added also few more examples for sale - and since 1980 fully concentrating on toy making - occasionally collaborating with my wife Vera - an artist using paper as the main material for her creations "cartonnage " - sculptural items, flats collage paintings etc...

Before the advent of machines, presses, lithographic printing, (and today - toys sorely in plastics), manufacturing methods we take today for granted tin toys where made entirely by hand as a cottage industry or in small workshops.

According to many world experts in the toy collecting field I am possibly the only one and unique toymaker working in this field using 19th century hands on techniques and methods of the pre-factory machine age - creating handmade tinplate toys.

The toys I produce in my studio near Sydney in Australia may be inspired from the “Golden age of toys” of yesteryear - however all are of my own original designs and crafted entirely by hand using only basic hand tools, hand painted with quality enamels, while boats are painted with rust resisting paints.

Every edition is limited only to a handful of toys - over 400 designs created since 1980 -
Dated, signed, provenance authenticity certificate, - Design copyright.

• • •

Credits
updated April 2009

Current Permanent Exhibit:
Event Horizon Gallery - Katoomba (Blue Mountains) - NSW Australia - from 2008
Magazines:
Antique Toy World magazine - USA
April 1989 - page 48,
April 1991 - page 27
April 1993 - page 26
October 1994 - page 64
July 1996 - page 11
January 1998 - page 67
September 1998 - page 50
February 2000 - page 64D
December 2001 - page 92
January 2009 - page 52
Forbes magazine - USA - 1989
Forbes FYI magazine - USA - spring 2000 - page 24
Australian Country Style magazine oct. / nov. 1990 - page 85
Better Homes and Gardens magazine Australia -
December 1996 - page 214
June 1998 - page 156

Collectormania - November 2007 issue 145 - Australia

Television:
Better Homes and Gardens programme - Channel 7 Sydney - Australia
November 1996 and June 1998
Exhibitions:
Ray Hughes Art Galleries, Sydney and Brisbane, Australia 1986 -1987 - 1988 - 1990
Wagner Art Gallery, Sydney Australia - 1994
Woodford Academy - Blue Mountains- NSW. (Australia) 2007
Ben Roberts gallery - Lawson- NSW (Blue Mountains NSW Australia) 2009
Toy Workshops:
Korowal school - Leura - NSW. 2007
Museums:
Powerhouse Museum discovery centre exhibition and toy workshop - Sydney 2009
National Polytechnic Museum - permanent toy exhibit - Sofia - Bulgaria

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