Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lego: History and Art

My 6 year old son is a huge LEGO fan!  Much of the wood floors of our home are covered with small pieces of plastic.  His favorite themes are Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.  We also love the LEGO video games which we play as a family.  I think the new Lord of the Rings video game is their best offering yet. 

LEGO are more than just plastic bricks.  They tell a great story.  They were invented by Ole Kirk Christiansen (7 April 1891 – 11 March 1958) of Denmark.

He was the 10th son of a poor family who trained to be a carpenter.  He married and had 4 sons before his wife passed away.  After losing his job, he began making wooden toys to bring in money. He eventually put the toys into production and used the wood he had left over from his old business.  Unfortunately, the factory was burned down after a spark ignited some wood shavings and they had to rebuild.  The word LEGO is felt to be a contraction for the Danish words meaning "play well."  After WWII, plastics became available for the construction of blocks and toys.  The rest is history.

My son and I went to see a Nathan Sawaya exhibit at our local museum a few years ago.  Nathan is a LEGO artist.  He is so prolific, he spends over $100,000 every year on LEGO bricks!  He has more than 1.5 million bricks in his New York studio.  If you haven't checked out his website, visit and be amazed!  The Art of the Brick

Here is a taste to get you started: