Handmade Chess Sets

Our kids have had a fascination with all things medieval for years. They love historical fiction set in this time period. They love medieval type fantasy stories. (We devoured the Lord of the Rings books and movies years ago already.) And now they love computer role playing games with a middle ages/middle earth feel.

They also love playing chess. And making things with their hands. 

It was Céline who initiated this most recent creative project - in the days right after our return from Nova Scotia- creating fantasy medieval chess pieces out of polymer clay. 

She completed a whole set and then helped Laurent finish his. The dwarves against the elves. (Aren't those dwarf pawns the cutest ever?) Brienne has a few characters that watch as spectators. 

Our kids go through crafting and creative play binges. It will be all lego for days and then the lego sits unused for weeks. In this case it was a polymer clay crafting binge. I wonder what will be next.

There is a current keen interest in their computer role playing game. But I'm not sure how comfortable I feel about a computer gaming binge. Hum... The challenges of children growing into young adults and spending more time on the computer - both for learning and recreation. 

Polymer clay is one of the supplies we keep on hand for the crafting. To see what else we stock in the craft dresser check out this post

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  • Renee A.

    Renee A. on Aug. 23, 2012, 1:04 p.m.

    WOW! WOW! WOW! Celine really should go into some artist type field when she is older (heck,even now!) b/c she rocks at making things! The girl could sell so much stuff b/c she is so talented! That chess set is beyond amazing! She should make stuff to sell at craft fairs...with the way her stuff looks,she could definitely sell things on the higher end! I don't play chess but I'd be thrilled to have a set out like that for people to see. :) I wish I had her creative genius! If you are reading this Celine, continue making stuff b/c you are so awesome, you work shows great skill,attention to detail and most of all you can tell it was done with love, it is definitely something you do b/c you like it and we can tell b/c your art is so great. You should feature your art somewhere, I know places like libraries like to feature artwork sometimes in their showcases,maybe if your library saw this blog they would be thrilled to show your artwork to others so that everyone could enjoy your wonderful creations....I could look at them all day, they are so pretty! :) Great job Celine!


  • Monica

    Monica on Aug. 23, 2012, 1:20 p.m.

    Wow - Celine's chess set is really amazing! I had also admired her Japanese doll too, Natsumi. A very talented young gal! Love her love of miniatures.


  • Brandi D.

    Brandi D. on Aug. 23, 2012, 1:35 p.m.

    This. Is. AMAZING. I am blown away by the beauty and creativeness coming out of your kids, Renee. If that chess set were on Etsy, I'd have bought it. I hope Celine, Laurent, and Brienne keep that creative fire going for the rest of their lives.


  • Tara

    Tara on Aug. 23, 2012, 2:09 p.m.

    Those chess pieces are gorgeous and your children have managed to inspire another project for us! Thanks!The seed bead eyes and the wheat in the head dress are just lovely touches. Life in our neck of the woods has been a little more hectic as of late, so I did not get a chance to comment on the gorgeous doll she made as well. So talented! Congrats on being settled in your own, beautiful space and for unpacking some more items that make it feel more like "home"- the trampoline comes to mind! Thanks for the endless inspiration- I am always grateful for your blog and your family's willingness to share so much with us.


  • Kika

    Kika on Aug. 23, 2012, 2:27 p.m.

    Oh my goodness! Those pieces are fabulous. I just pulled out our chess set again to keep on our coffee table so it gets dusted off and used more. We used to love playing together. We're sooo waiting for the new Hobbit movie to FINALLY be released this winter. Can't wait :)


  • Tara

    Tara on Aug. 23, 2012, 2:52 p.m.

    Those are spectacular! Your children are very gifted artists. Some day your family could have an amazing Etsy shop/art store!


  • darkpurplemoon

    darkpurplemoon on Aug. 23, 2012, 4:24 p.m.

    Hello, I have been avidly reading your site for a long time, but I never comment.

    I don't know why I read your blog so avidly, I live in a poky house in the UK, don't have and don't plan to have any kids, my husband refused to go for any form of walk, including 10 minutes into town instead of driving.....yet somehow I come back time after time.

    Anyway....I have to comment on these figures - they are so amazing, your children are very talented and I echo all of those who say that these could easily be sold on Etsy for an awful lot of money, if your children were so inclined.

    Absolutely amazing.


  • Nancy Wang

    Nancy Wang on Aug. 23, 2012, 7:16 p.m.

    They are really wonderful. My kids love chess, and the thought of making chess pieces never entered their minds. I think this will inspire them!


  • Its_Lily

    Its_Lily on Aug. 23, 2012, 10:24 p.m.

    That is SO cool! Really, you know that. Ha, you said you had nothing to do with it and yet, you did. You laid this groundwork years ago and your kids have been moving on this path all along. Good for them for deciding to make such an awesome chess set. Of course they could have saved up for one, but my goodness, what they're created could never have been afforded. So, so cool!


  • Emily

    Emily on Aug. 24, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

    Just showed Caleb. After each picture "That's Awesome". But each That's Awesome got more drawn out and punctuated. He loves chess. Loves the theme. Well done to your kids.


  • Stefani

    Stefani on Aug. 24, 2012, 12:55 p.m.

    Holy wow!!! This is amazing!! I'm tempted to go and wake up all my boys just to show them. Absolutely beautiful and inspiring. We've got to get some clay!


  • Darla

    Darla on Sept. 11, 2012, 7:46 p.m.

    Wow!!! What a beautiful chess set! I'm planning on making something similar as a gift for a special someone (except Back To The Future themed), but I'm new to working with polymer clay. Can I ask how long your kids baked these for? I'm so scared of over- or under-baking and ruining the whole thing...


    • renee

      renee on Sept. 12, 2012, 1:25 a.m.

      Celine says you just follow the instructions on the packaging. The kids baked there's for 30 minutes at 230F or thereabouts. I'd read the instructions on you package. Maybe test one piece first before baking the whole thing. We've baked a lot of polymer and never had any disasters. 


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