The other day while in Eason's, I picked up this month's issue of Wallpaper. It's a bit of a guilty pleasure really, because buying it makes me makes me feel like a bit of a snob, but I do love it.
Whilst flicking through the pages of their annual Handmade Issue, I came across a collection of sex toys I had never seen before; all black hand-blown glass, some with leather straps. As objets d'art they are undoubtedly beautiful, but I am skeptical about their functionality. The descriptions did not offer any clues about whether or not they could be used as actual toys. I know that they say in the video that the toys are functional, but they do not mention if the glass is tempered and that is especially worrying. One toy in particular, a ball gag, looked like a recipe for dental disaster!
What irked me even more was that the whole thing felt like a bit of a joke, the title, quite uncreatively, was called "Blow Job." The blurb itself even stated "Handmade has steered decorously clear of sex - until now. Our collection of pleasure objects, or 'Adult Tool Kit was made under the careful watch of glass artist Jeff Zimmerman and our US editor Michael Reynolds."
My question to Wallpaper is "Why exactly have you steered so 'decorously clear of sex until now?'" And why didn't Michael Reynolds team up with one of the handful of bodysafe, design focused manufacturers who hand-make their toys like BS Atelier or NobEssence; or other manufacturers who are leading the way in toy design and branding like Njoy, Minna, or Fun Factory?
For a magazine that is meant to be at the forefront of design and have their ears to the ground in the creative world, they're first offering of sex toys was a disappointment and showed lack of maturity. While the other products in the Handmade issue had at least one person on a design team in that particular field (an architect for a garden folly, a clock restorer and metal worker for a beautiful metal clock), their 'Adult Tool Kit' featured precisely no one from the actual adult toy industry. And while they may give themselves a smug pat on the back for being so liberal and forward thinking, they've actually revealed themselves to be the opposite: conservative and behind the times.