Long before Pete Burns and his rubber lips had our heads spinning right round, we were dizzy with glee over a game which had us throwing some serious shapes down on paper and creating our very own Art Attack.
Creative games were always added to my Christmas list; along with 5 selection packs and a Now That’s What I Call Music’ cd, and I remember opening Spirograph and thinking ‘WTF? And why?’ But once I’d cracked it open and took those bad boy cogs out of the packet my mind became a visual kaleidoscope; I was addicted.
The set reminded me of one of Lady Gaga’s outfits; shocking to look at, but second nature after a few attempts. It contained two obscure frames, various sized cogs and pins to keep them in place; you simply attached the cog to the frame and moved it round to create shapes prettier than Cheryl Coles face.
Once I’d got the hang of the geometric art there was no stopping me, and I was such a cognetive genius, that Mum would rather stick a Spiro master piece on the fridge than one of my ‘paper plate with a bit of pasta and glitter’ creations.
I am in awe, and pure JEL, of its inventor Denys Fisher. Not only does he manage to find a cool way of spelling ‘Dennis’, but also managed to somehow make geometry cool. High five my man, high five.
Denys created Spirograph over thirty years ago in the summer of 1963, and pitched them as ‘pattern drawing by revolving stencils.’ Sales soon spirographed out of control after a short stint on Blue Peter, and it soon drew attention, becoming the largest selling toy in the UK in the same year it was introduced; bravo my man.
A fond memory of Spirograph comes from the actual box; light blue, bright bold yellow font and a picture of two young children having the timeoftheirlives.com. They remind me of myself and my brother; happily playing along creating geometric good times, but under the table he is pinching me and muttering ‘if you don’t let me have that bright pink star fish style stencil then I’m going to flick that 80’s head band right between your eyes!’
Children nowadays are too busy petting fake dogs on the Xbox Kinect, or being told off for throwing the Wii remote straight through the TV. However, after donning my Inch High Private Eye detective cloak, I soon found there are still some new adaptations to the Spirograph franchise…
I spotted Creation Spirograph, which includes magnets and funkier cogs, and even Spirograph 3D, which allows you to pop out the shapes you make and find something utterly pointless to do with them.
Someone is actually selling a set on Ebay for £20, but beware as the pens do not work and some of the pins are missing; sounds like my set after a weeks’ worth of use…
By Kelly Holgate