Brian Mahlert, Write On!
Brian’s love for woodworking began in grade school. As a kid, he loved working with wood and creating treasures in woodshop. He started making shelves and planters to sell after a friend in the craft business suggested he give it a try. It was while traveling to craft shows with his wife and two young daughters that he decided he needed to create something useful that would entertain his girls while traveling and sitting at shows with him. He remembered that as a child he had a box that had a chalkboard on one side and peg board on the other with a wooden mallet. He recreated this childhood toy with an updated version. The result was the Write On! Activity Box. It is a 10″ x 12″ wood frame box with a chalkboard front and a dry erase on the back. Each chalkboard is silkscreened with an original design and is personalized at the point of sale. The front slides open for storage and the box has a cord handle for easy carrying. It was a great companion for the many car rides and shows the girls endured while on the road with him. Brian has been making the activity boxes for 34 years now.
He begins with ripping down rough poplar boards, then shaping and routering the pieces. He screens all the designs himself and assembles each box, cuts the cord handle and staples it. In the busy Christmas season he gets some help from his wife, Shelley. Brian received “Best Toy of Show” at the Park Avenue Summer Arts Festival in Rochester, NY. His greatest pride though comes from the response he gets from the now second-generation customers who buy his beloved boxes for their own children because they remember loving them so much when they themselves were children.