I first saw Patty’s lovely dolls several weeks ago when Etsy posted her enchanting stop motion video, “A Doll Making Story.” Instantly charmed, I was curious to find out more about the artist who was able to transform pieces of paper clay and scraps of vintage fabric into beautiful dolls with heart. All her pieces are handmade without the use of molds and are one of a kind.
The mysterious Patty, who chooses not to divulge her surname or reveal her likeness in a photo, lives in Florence, Italy, surely one of the most beautiful cities in the world, known for its rich history, culture, art, architecture, and high fashion. Who would not be inspired to create some form of art when living in the birthplace of the Renaissance? I still sigh and swoon whenever I recall standing in the Uffizi Gallery gazing at Botticelli’s “Primavera.”
I’m sure you’ll enjoy meeting Patty, who, in addition to English, speaks Italian, Spanish, French, and a bit of Russian. She named her shop “Dedalos” (“maze”), after Daedalus, the first artist and artisan in Greek mythology who built the famous Labyrinth for King Minos in Crete. I’m always fascinated by how an artist can make a doll actually resemble a famous person yet still emanate her own trademark style.
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♥ A DOLL MAKER’S DELIGHT ♥
Name of shop or business: Dedalos Art Dolls
Year established: 2011
Items you make: Art Dolls and Paintings
Studio Location: Florence, Italy
Online: www.dedalos.etsy.com (Shop)
www.facebook.com/DedalosArtDolls (Fb Page)
http://bit.ly/Wonjns (Youtube Channel)
Three words that best describe your art: Color, Joy, Fairy-tale
Self taught or formal training? Artistic training in Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, self taught dollmaker.
Tools of the Trade: Paperclay, Acrylic painting, Vintage fabric.
1 – Brushes
2 – Vintage Fabric
3 – Sandpaper
4 – Beads
5 – Elastic Thread
6 – Sculpting Tools
7 – Small Rasps
8 – Paperclay
9 – Woolen Wigs
10 – Fine Acrylic Paint
Inspirations and influences: Painting, Cinema, Tales, History.
Three significant milestones in your career:
I think a key point in my artistic life has been moving to Florence, a city full of art and a great source of inspiration.
I’m still a modest dollmaker, so I don’t have a long story and I wouldn’t talk about milestones.
I would rather talk about “sea pebbles” that I put on my way just like Tom Thumb. I’m constantly gaining new followers and customers, and I have been featured on several independent blogs. My recent production of stop motion videos allowed me to further spread my work.
Food that inspires your best work:
I think that the best ideas come to my mind before eating, when I’m more receptive and I get more easily inspired.
I therefore have more excuse to indulge in eating after work. I’m a vegetarian and being Italian I am a very good fork!
Bestseller: Custom doll orders are a huge part of my work.
What is your earliest memory of being creative? What is the first thing you ever made as an “artist”?
I don’t remember which was my first “masterpiece”, but I do remember that as soon as I could handle colors, I would move them to the left hand. This made my relatives think that I would develop an artistic personality, as most of the left-handed people in my family.
I also remember I used to play with a very natural play dough made by my grandmother with flour, water and colors. This made my fantasy and creativity develop. I was also really focused in collecting images from newspaper for my personal notebook collage.
What sparked your interest in dollmaking?
It happened by chance because after several years of painting and drawing, I wanted to start creating tridimensional pieces and I fell in love with creating small characters. I never stopped since.
Tell us about your favorite creation so far, some of the challenges you overcame to make it, and how it influences what you’re doing now.
I really had a lot of fun creating Polly – the painter doll, and her miniature drawing portfolio. I also loved to create Julie and Cléo, and I put a lot of effort in creating their small vintage boots and golden eyeglasses. It’s all about small details, and every time I make a doll, I learn I can make things I hadn’t considered before, and my technique improves. This always happens by chance, because I don’t make detailed projects before starting a new piece.
Please select a popular item from your shop, tell us what inspired it and how you made it.
My dolls are one of a kind, but it happens that I get requests to reproduce sold dolls. For some reason, many customers asked me to reproduce Hanna (the writer doll). When I was creating the first Hanna, I decided to give her a blue notebook to brighten up her classical outfit and I instantly found out that this perfectly completed her personality, and she became a writer to my eyes. She’s been a very beloved doll.
Describe your studio. How have you fashioned your work environment to enhance creativity and maximize productivity?
My studio is a very simple and bright room in my house. I have a light birchwood table, and I like to work on it because I love this very warm material, that makes me feel at ease. I don’t have a special condition in which I start to work. I sometimes listen to music, usually vintage and classical, but I also love to work in silence.
Have you made any dolls inspired by children’s book characters? Were you an avid reader as a child?
Some time ago I made a doll inspired by Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, that was recently sold.
I must say I was indeed a bookworm as a child! I learned to read at 4 because I was so upset I couldn’t understand any of the titles of cartoons at the TV. Later I used to live in front of a public library, and to go back and forth for new books, sometimes more than once a day. I remember looking through the library window feeling ashamed to enter again and ask for a new book!
How do you chart your growth as an artist? How do you define success?
I don’t know what success is. I personally feel that being only one life, happiness is the most desirable success. I want to grow my skills naturally and I want my dolls to reflect the love I put in my work. Dollmaking is mostly a pleasure to me so I don’t feel I have to force the events with too many plans or expectations.
What do you like best about the creative life?
I like the feeling that you can convey your dreams and visions in something real, and sometimes also unexpected even to your predictions.
Any new projects you’re especially excited about?
I’m currently working on several custom orders and portrait dolls, and I must say that I love to work with other people and share ideas and inspirations. I always feel thrilled when I see I can realize a dream.
My dolls have recently been featured on Etsy Blog and will soon appear on other independent blogs.
All the updates and events will be shared on my Facebook Page.
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Here’s Patty’s wonderful stop motion video featuring Evelyne:
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Thanks for visiting today, Patty!
Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.