|Ally Gator, Reprised (2000)|
On my mother’s side of the family, a number of the men going back several generations were woodworkers of some sort. My great-uncle in particular was a toy-maker, and developed a number of designs that were later on sold and patented. As a child, some of my favorite gifts included his sliding wood logic puzzles and jointed wooden animals that opened their mouths, flapped their wings/arms/legs, or made some sort of noise when a toggle was pulled or they were rolled across the floor. When as part of the woodworking component of our 3D design class we were tasked with making a toy, I based my design on memories of one of my most-loved critters: a jaw-chomping, teeth-clacking gator. The ‘new and improved’ version didn’t roll quite as smoothly, and his teeth turned out not so child-friendly, but then I’m no master woodworker with years of experience.