This is the place in our mind guarding the memories of a childhood past.
A slightly faded and worn place laced with a sepia colored nostalgia.
The enchanted child,
mesmerized by the magic of simple things around it,
a secret world of ones own to grow in.
One in which an unspoiled imagination can transport us to
a haven of fantasy and dreams.
Spending a mind's day inside a paper theatre or dollhouse,
where the family of mice layed out the table for breakfast and the owls share their tales of wisdom before bedtime.
Story telling is something I love to do and is the fuel to my work.
Each doll and sculpture has their own little fantastical tale to tell
Read all about a traveling theatre with its strange inhabitants in The Theatre of Tales
or meet the forest nymphs that may show you the secret passage to the tale of The Forgotten Forest
I stitch my creations by hand with cotton, vintage fabrics, discarded textiles, old garments and antique lace, when I can get my hands on it. Sometimes I use clay for hands and faces, as it allows for more detail. I love rummaging flea markets and second hand shops to find fabrics and haberdashery. The more worn the textile, the more it speaks to me somehow. As if the material has its own secret story to tell, which for me personally, adds so much to the work I am making. Sometimes the fabrics I use are so worn, I have to somehow 'restore' them in places to make them not fall apart entirely, especially when there are beads and embroidery involved.
Finally I decorate the dolls and sculptures with my drawings, embroidery, beads and sometimes little found objects that are part of the story of the piece.
Animals are an endless source of inspiration for me,
As a child, and still sometimes now,
I dreamed of wolves almost every night.
At first they were terribly scary creatures,
always chasing and dangerous.
Then one day in my waking life, I met an actual wolf in the Polish woodlands.
(you can read about this strange meeting in my blog post)
Some time after this meeting,
in one particular dream,
the role of the wolf changed.
In this dream forest I saw again a wolf.
but this time I paused to take a closer look at the dream creature,
and noticed that it was in fact made from lots of pieces of fabric.
The wolf was all stitched together like a quilt.
Since that dream, a good 20 years ago,
the wolf became my good omen, wise and mysterious,
guiding me to secret places in the woods.
The doll on the left is called Josephine the Wolf,
she is a Wolf Witch.
She loves drying flowers in her flower press,
her favorite drink is smoked tea from the Pakakucha Mountains
From the fragile age of young childhood,
I adored getting lost in Fairy Tales.
Especially the beautifully illustrated books by the Brothers Grimm have been a fierce life inspiration and affirmation.
Later on I became enchanted by artists such as The Brothers Quay and Jan Švankmaier.
I spend most my childhood dressing up as the fantastical characters of fairytales and stories,
and I still love to spend time doing just that, immersing myself in the world of magic and mystery.
One thing I love most about making my dolls, is to be once again enchanted by the imaginings of otherworldly beings and creating them beautiful clothes and accessories.
Seeing them come to life is quite wonderful.
I often find though, that a doll will start out one way,
beginning with an idea and image in my head, but during the process of their making,
they will change themselves quite forcefully.
It is as if they have their own ideas an opinions of what they should become,
and I only have so much to say on the matter!
above: Rossitva and Ivaylo the Wolf
I often use my textile sculptures as a canvas to paint on,
but I also make paintings and illustrations, on traditional canvas and paper.
You can find originals and giclée prints of these works in my etsy shop.
Lady Pavlova & Wolf Gustav were the first two 'Pantovola’ dolls I made
Gustav lives in the Polish woodlands
Lady Pavlova has moved on to pursue a career as a cabaret singer in Oklahoma
Besides my autonomous work, I like to create custom pieces too.
For example I make Memory Dolls and Heirloom Dolls on a custom made bases.
These are bespoke art dolls who come to life in collaboration with your ideas and special heirlooms/items you may want to see incorporated in the piece.
Would you be interested to find out more about such dolls,
you can read about them here
for your custom doll request please fill out this form
You can find my available ooak dolls and textile sculptures in my shop here
Thank you for reading
x P x