The inspiration for the Uqie figures came from our three daughters Litay, Noë and Inay.
Parenting these three, we are daily confronted with their different characters and their different approach towards life. We support them to become and be their own unique beings: a dynamic process, in which we try to help them discover their own qualities, strengths, abilities and disabilities. Because of their different characters there is no standard manual we as parents can refer to. Each child needs its own approach. For example when they were much younger all three of them went through the experience of learning to ride a bike. (We were living in Holland…)
You might be familiar with the magical moment when you, as a parent, let go and they cycle off independently. Our eldest daughter’s magical moment was when she felt completely sure that she was physical capable. Our middle one was physically capable long before her magical moment came, but she needed tons of encouraging words and a reassuring hand on her shoulder. While our youngest daughter was presumptuous and took her sister’s bike and thought she was able to cycle. After a couple of bruises her moment of glory also came!
As parents we needed 3 different “manuals”.
Other examples: One daughter can express her emotions easily, while the other has difficulties to put them into words what makes her proud. One needs to be encouraged to tell her school adventures, while the other tells them spontaneously. Many more examples can follow….. But what we realized was, that each of them has certain emotions, qualities, abilities and disabilities of which they were unaware or unable to express.
As parents we were searching for a tool to make these abstract understandings for our young daughters visible. We tried to think of ways to make it touchable, visible and alive in a positive manner. In such a way, that would help the child discover its own unique self.
We started to create imaginative clay figures that represented different unique qualities like: giving love, being special, being courageous, being truthful, etc. Around these figures we made up little stories, ending each one with an open question the girls could answer for themselves, each in her own way. In the process we realized that many more children and parents might benefit from this idea.
As designers we were always looking to create something with a rather deeper meaning than only decorative designs. The Uqies gave us new inspiration for creating this concept, and thus, the first Uqies book was born!
More figures are waiting to be developed, because up to this day we are still in the process of discovering and learning from our children and ourselves.