Soft Play and Empathy Dolls, North Lancaster, ON
In 1996 ceramic designer Ewa Jarenskog came across a problem. Ewa had been successfully creating popular clay figurines with emotional, childlike and cheeky motives, but they weren't suitable for children to play with. So Ewa and her friend, apparel designer Teruko Wahlström, started their journey together to create Rubens Barn.
They faced two main challenges. To capture the expressions of Ewa's clay models in soft fabric, and to create a friend that would last a childhood of play. These challenges, along with the strong beliefs in the importance of developing empathy through play, and that children shouldn't be hurried out of their childhood, have guided us at Rubens Barn until today.