Mathias Bax lives in a small village called Edermunde in the middle of Germany. He works as an architect and a designer. He has always liked drawing, and in his younger days, he did some graffiti. Drawing and comics were his biggest hobbies, and through comics, he found toys. Star Wars were his favorites, but expensive as a kid. (Just last year, he bought the 70cm Millennium Falcon!) It was through trips to Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore that Mathias discovered urban vinyl.
Mathias wanted to fuse the spirit of urban vinyl and DIY toys with architectural simplicity and have the result also be appropriate for his young son. To that extent, he created two versions of the hamsters: one with articulated arms and one with fixed arms (no small parts for kids to eat). And so it was, that after getting home from work, Mathias spent time with his girlfriend, put his son to bed, and then went to work again--this time in his toy lab.
"Casting resin was not hard to do, but very expensive by trial and error learning," he said. "The Hamster form needed to be simple and flexible so it can be made into something wholly new...perhaps a Stormtrooper, Hellboy or an Easter Egg. As a result, the Hamster has no eyes: the mind of the Hamster is therefore neutral. But the idea of artificial teeth make him laugh..."
The question on everybody's minds: WHY HAMSTERS?
"The idea of creating a hamster goes back to my early school days when we read about caring for a hamster as a pet. I wanted one, and tried to get one from my parents, bu unfortunately we had cats throughout my whole childhood. I do like cats very much, but finally found my way to hamsters around age 14. Flash forward to about a year ago, I sketched a picture of a comic hamster for my girlfriend's sister. She has hamsters, and my son also loves them. All of this fit together finally."
And what about "Cavy," the hamster's name?
"The name Cavy was a result of being undecided about the Hamster's name. It was around midnight and I wanted to make sure that the word, "hamster" is the same in English and German. The German word for guinea pig ("Meerschweinchen") lead me to "Cavy," and I liked it immediately. It's possible that hamsters may also live in caves..."
Mathias has been customizing the hamsters for friends. A red cross hamster went to Switzerland. A green hamster made his way to a toy writer in California. Maybe the next hamster will be yours? Since real hamsters have a habit of multiplying quite quickly, Mathias will attempt to replicate that in resin and keep a supply of the toys in his shop at http://www.urbanhamster.bigcartel.com. Not all the hamsters are urban: he currently has a selection in pastel pinks and blues ready for Easter. You can tell he's having a good time with this. DIY Hamsters are $10 USD, and special editions cost a few bucks more. (Each hamster comes in a bag with nesting material.) Mathias knows that international shipping can be expensive, so all orders will ship for the same price. Don't let your hamster be lonely: stock up!
Are you on Twitter? So is Mathias: http://twitter.com/Toyarchitects Want to win a resin hamster? Welcome him to Twitter with a follow and the hashtag #resinhamsters. At the end of the week, 2 random winners who are following Mathias will each receive a DIY hamster.