It’s not often you meet the makers of the toys we buy for our children. It’s even rarer to meet a crack team which are the keepers of a dying tradition of crafting slow toys.
Meet Bateaux Tirot ~ the last of the artisan family, which creates eco-wood French sailing boats or pond boats crafted by hand since 1946 .
Originally a shoemaker, Nicolas’s grandfather, Francis Tirot, began making toy boats to replace his wooden clog business just after World War II in 1946. Francis’s already tight skills were perfected and handed down to his son Eurl, who bestowed them to Nicolas.
Each boat is handmade using beech wood grown in a sustainable forest in Brittany France about 50kms from the atelier. Nicolas works each piece carefully using a combination of modern tools and a couple that still survive from his grandfather and father’s days.
Each sail is hand sewn and the motif are also hand printed to create an individual toys.
Artisan craftsmanship like that of the Tirot’s is highly esteemed in France. Bateaux Tirot was awarded the Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant for its quality leveraging it into the class of Hermes, Chanel and Christian Dior. The value is astounding given the long-lasting quality of each boat at a price that is affordable to all families.
When sailed the boats are buoyant, beautiful and from a distance you would almost think they are real yachts and dinghies.
But does the cat (or foreman) in the sawdust care? He tried to bite me when I patted him, which we took as a sign to depart the atelier to eat, drink and swap stories about our kids – another lovely French tradition.
You can see our beautiful range of handmade wooden sailing boats made by Bateaux Tirot.
Thanks for visiting, please feel free to leave a comment on what you love about the concept of artisans and slow toys.