Kösen Wolf: Lying down
German Workmanship and the True-to-Life Look: Soft Toys from Kösen. Illustrated: the Wolf.
Kösen soft toys are put together from sometimes more than 70 separate pieces of woven plush material in a variety of colours, hair lengths and consistencies. This guarantees a completely authentic reproduction of the characteristic features of each animal. Before they go onto the design board, detailed studies are made of the animals’ anatomy and movements both in the wild and in zoos. The next step is to make sketches and a working model in clay – and only then is the ‘Kösen animal’ born: really true to life! These toys have won many international prizes and are in a sense collectors’ items: but they have always been meant for children, and are suitably durable and robust.
The "Animal of the Season".
Starting with this issue, we are going to present you with a particular animal every month.
January/February: the Wolf.
Wolves live in the wild either alone or in family groups; in winter, in packs. The mating season is from December to February, and the cubs – between four and nine – are born from April to May. An adult wolf reaches a length of between 100-150 centimetres. The wolf was almost exterminated in large areas of West and Central Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries – a few enclaves can still be found today in Spain, Italy, the Balkans and in Scandinavia. Since 1989 Canis lupus has become a "protected species" – in spite of its bloodthirsty reputation – under the Berne Convention and is making a slow come-back to its former habitats, including Germany.
The Kösen Toy Manufacture.
Genuine stuffed animals made in Bad Kösen are collector’s items, but what they are actually made for is life in a nursery. Up to 100 parts are necessary to make a Kösen animal with securely fastened safety eyes and stuffing of non-flammable silicone hollow fibre (in case of the teddy bears and the larger specimen, they also add some plastic granulate for anatomic accuracy). Unlike many other manufacturers, who mostly use materials made in Asia, they stick to plush that comes from weaving mills in Germany, Belgium and France. It has a firmer quality and can thus be sewn more tightly – ultimately the reason for the animals’ durability. Besides, this plush fabric is resistant to hair loss. The Kösen animals are among the finest you can find, not only in craft but also in design. For every model, thorough studies of anatomy and movement are conducted in the animals’ natural environment or at the zoo; blueprints and clay models follow. Thanks to the co-operation with the neighbouring Burg Giebichenstein, a well-known training centre for product design in Germany since the beginning of the 20th century, the Kösen stuffed animals have won several design prizes.
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