Best Chess set EVER -or- new partnership

It all started with a visit to the Design Museum in Holon. We were given a bonus – free guide to take us around a very special exhibition of the work of Jaime Hayon, Funtastico. The younger kids in the group were given a large, colorful folded card that looked like a big brochure – but on closer inspection it was an assignment sheet. It was happy and colorful, and guided the kids around the exhibition giving them assignments that connected with the things they were seeing. Like this HUGE chess set, for example:

The assignment was to design your own chess set. There were spaces for each piece you would need to design – King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Rook and Pawn.

Eilon (then 9) started to work on it, but lost interest before he was finished.

I told him if he completed the design set, I would make him a chess set based on it. This sparked his interest again, and he completed the set: The king is leaning on his sword (“like in the first Harry Potter movie where they play Wizard’s Chess”), the queen has spikes going down her back (“she looks sweet from the front, but really she’s the most powerful piece on the board”), the knight is brandishing his dagger, the rook is a tall tower, the pawns are protecting themselves with shields, and the bishop.. well, the name for the bishop piece in Hebrew is “ratz”, which means “runner”. So he’s running.

Eilon's original drawings for the shess set

Noni chessketch

I must admit at this point I didn’t understand all of it from just looking at it, so I sat with Eilon and he explained it all to me.

Now, of course, I had to get to work. I started with the kings, then the queens. It was fun trying to stick to the sketch but give each piece a little different personality.
Then the bishops, knights and rooks – these all had to look rather similar, since there are 2 in each color. Lastly, the pawns. All 16 of ’em.


Once all the pieces were ready, I held my breath until they came through the first firing. Happily, they all survived.


The next step was color. Rather straightforward for chess, isn’t it? Black, and white. What else is there? But I wanted a little more something in Eilon’s special set. So the white got purple accents, and the blacks got yellow. Then, more waiting.

All the pieces came through the glazing beautifully, and just in time for Eilon’s 10th birthday – this has to be one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever given any of my kids. And I’ve been a mom for a while by now.. Half my life.

I made a chess board to present him with his gift, set the pieces on it, and..

Noni chess

We played.


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