Rich Clemens, Mark Twain Toys
Rich was born in 1945 in Mansfield, Ohio, also home to his Mother and most of her family. He was raised in a city home that valued many forms of art and the experience of the simpler joys of life. Saturdays were often spent fishing with his Father at Clearfork Reservoir and enjoying a lunch of a colby cheese and cold meat sandwich with Kool-Aid to drink. His Mother studied drawing and design at The Art Institute of Philadelphia and she frequently provided Rich with the challenge to help create some object she desired to decorate their home, enhance her Japanese Garden, or form a base for a new flower arrangement. Her training and interest in color, design, and art serves to drive many of his interests today.
Likewise his Father’s interest in photography, including the actual processing of film and prints provided exposure to enrich Rich’s “doing” of a craft and not just reading about a craft. Rich can remember from a very early age being in his Father’s darkroom watching the development of black and white images under a soft amber light.
With considerably different interests than his older brother, you would find Rich by himself outdoors enjoying the large wooded lot next to the family home or in the basement “making something” out of the scraps of wood. A block of wood with a dowel stuck out of the top and bottle caps for controls could well be a walkie-talkie providing superior communications for exploring the world.
In the past several years, he continues to explore a number of areas in the current “make” tradition including ham radio gadgets and computer toys. However, Rich passionately holds that image of a young child with a simple toy that develops their imagination and extends playtime with creative skills. Rich designs his toys to be rock solid for many hours of play and the ability to be shared with siblings or other families. He is proud to note that each toy has no need for screws, nails or batteries to be a fun tool for life. What started as a project to provide toys for his twelve grandchildren has been extended to all.