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The Playwell Journey: Part Four

This is the fourth part of a series in which we follow the journey that brought Playwell Bricks’ own Jason Pyett from a stay-at-home-Dad to bespoke brick models designer to the CEO of an international design company. In Parts One through Three, we’ve seen Pyett rekindle his love for bricks and get motivated to inspire kids to experiment more with their projects. In this next part, we’ll be following along with Pyett as he gets a practical education in building with bricks.

In order to keep offering the workshops and supply those kids with bricks, Pyett needed to raise some capital. He haunted secondhand sites for LEGO® sets with a plan to de-funk and clean the bricks, build the sets, replace any missing pieces, and resell them, putting all the money back into Playwell Bricks as a not-for-profit.

During this period, “I learned how to buy and sell, as well as how to do sales posts and market on Facebook,” Pyett says. But that wasn’t all he learned. Pyett estimates that he rebuilt over 300 sets in two years. This served as a practical education in bricks, “going through and learning the techniques and seeing what designers’ thought processes were and absorbing all of that.”

Soon, he was experimenting with advanced techniques. Pyett built a catapult that could launch a tire across the room, making the kids in his workshops cheer, and a wind-up car out of bricks and elastic bands that could travel up to 40 feet.

He loved inspiring the kids with the things he was learning to do with bricks, like the time he built a trestle bridge that he suspended between two desks at the local school. He got the kids to go up and walk across the bridge. “One girl was super scared,” Pyett recalls. “I said, if I go up and walk across it, will you?” So up he went, “all 180lbs of me on the bridge!” The kids went wild as the model held his weight.

Then something shifted. Pyett was trying to puzzle out how to make a brick road that would have the same curves as a real road. “As I was doing the 90 degree curve, I figured out how to do a 45 degree wedge and then I
looked at it and went, hmm, if I put it all in a circle, then it becomes a clock face.” As it turns out, that circle was a lot more than just a clock face. “The connections in my brain started firing,” Pyett recalls. “That’s when I knew. I knew that I was a designer.”

Wondering what comes next for Pyett? Keep an eye on this space for The Playwell Journey: Part Five as Pyett gets his first custom set design commission.

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