A White Rock artist and graphic designer has created a versatile interactive arts and creativity-oriented toy for children that allows them a free hand to decorate their rooms with a whole menagerie of colourful creatures – without damaging walls or stressing-out parents in the process.
Bryce Willushaw’s Mixable Murals are non-toxic, easy to use, durable, tear and stretch resistant, and retain their stick-ability without marking up walls or leaving a residue.
And with whole families of friendly horses, cows, pigs, sheep, owls, giraffes, monkeys and sea-turtles to pose however they want – and new sticker kits being added all the time in sizes ranging from small to super-large – young children can create their own continually changing and evolving wall-scapes, Willushaw said.
The ways the pieces can be combined and arranged is virtually limitless, he added – and he hopes the novelty, and the creative aspect, will make his product a good bet for Christmas shoppers looking for something different for younger family members.
It’s not just a question of keeping kids amused, as Willushaw points out.
“We’re hoping it becomes a family activity – something you can do with kids to get that creative give-and-take happening, and allow them to experiment without fear of mistakes.
“By making creativity a part of your everyday play with your children, you are setting them on the right path to a lifelong love of creating, curiosity and learning,” he said.
Also included among the sets of cute baby animals are two formats of alphabets and numbers, he added.
The Langley-born-and-bred entrepreneur has been working in the arts since high school, doing everything from sculpture to illustration to animation art and design and Fine Arts as well.
“I’ve always had my mind open to small business ideas.” he said. “And I think all designers and all artists want to see their work fulfilling some kind of function in society – if you can bring some joy and inspire others, that’s great.”
But he gives full credit to his four year-old niece for inspiring Mixable Murals as the first product of his new company, Island Pine Design.
“When she was born, for some reason, the love I felt for her triggered something deep inside,” he said. “I felt my imagination moving in a way I hadn’t felt before.”
He knew the kind of gift he wanted to give her, he said – something that would spark her imagination and keep her involved, as well as being safe and non-toxic. But extensive searching told him the kind of product he had in mind did not exist.
Realizing the gap – and a window of opportunity – Willushaw set to work designing, researching materials and finding manufacturers who could produce his Mixable Murals idea at the level of quality and consistency he required.
It took two years to develop the product, but by the time his niece reached her fourth birthday he had a seven-foot tall posable giraffe mural kit ready for her playroom.
Her delight, and positive reactions from friends and family, told Willushaw he needed to make more and market them.
Manufactured from PVC-free polyester fabric, the kits are not prone to the problems of plastic off-gassing, volatile organic compounds or the unpleasant odour of other plastic decals, Willushaw said.
And the inks used are Green Guard school and children Indoor air-quality certified, he added.
“It was really, really important for me for these to be as safe and non-toxic as possible.”
He’s also made sure to offer a wide range of products which means that parents and children can test the concept with small starter kits before embracing it with the largest kits.
“We have everything from smaller birds to the giraffe – and we’re also developing an elephant and a rhinocerous,” he said.
“The murals can be taken off the wall and stored for any length of time,” he added. “They do last a long, long time. We’ve had some pieces on and off walls between 40 and 50 times and they’re still sticking.
“One of our clients told me she put a piece through the wash accidentally and it went right back on the wall and stuck.”
For more information, visit www.mixablemurals.com