Hello and welcome to Pantovola,
here you can read a bit more about my textile art and dolls,
and the process of creating them.
The first thing that springs to mind when talking about the things one creates, is inspiration.
What is it that inspires someone to make a certain thing in a certain way?
For me personally, this is based on memory, and particularly the memories I have from my younger childhood.
When I was a child, my main occupation was to somehow escape into a fantasy world,
somewhere to feel enchanted and safe.
There are a few crystal clear memories of such moments successfully coming to fruition.
One is of the afternoons spend in my room covered in murals of my own making,
curtains closed and candles burning, lighting up the Shadow Theatre I had made Japanese paper and cardboard cut-outs.
Witches and wolves played out their stories behind the screen, dolls and teddies as an audience.
The other, most vivid memory I have of such wonderful escapism is of a late crisp winter afternoon,
cycling through the flat icy country side with my grandmother to see a puppetry show on a farm.
The theatre was set up in the barn, with thick burgundy velvet curtains, wooden school chairs and a magical scent of dust and animals encasing the space.
The setting, the smell, the dimmed light and the puppetry transported me completely,
and I think that this is the feeling I try to relive and capture in my own art and doll universe.
I stitch my creations by hand with vintage fabrics, discarded textiles, old garments and antique lace, when I can get my hands on it. I love rummaging fleamarkets 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 painted illustrations, embroidery, beads, precious stones and sometimes little objects that are part of the story of the piece.
Story telling is a big part of my work,
each doll and sculpture has their own little fantastical tale to tell, such as in The Theatre of Tales;
a story about Pantovola and the traveling theatre with its strange inhabitants and creatures.
You can read the full story here
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.
But in one particular dream this all changed.
When I paused to take a closer look at the dream wolf,
I noticed it was in fact made of lots of pieces of fabric,
all stitched together like a quilt.
Since that dream, a good 20 years ago,
the wolf changed to being a 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 kind Wolf Witch.
She loves drying flowers in her flower press,
her favorite drink is smoked tea from the Pakakucha Mountains
I like to use embroidery for details,
or sometimes for the writing of small texts on the doll.
I know there are embroidery options on my sewing machine, but I have never tried it out.
So my embroidery is all hand stitched and 'free' as I don't use any specific technique,
I just embroider the way I paint, by eye and intuition.
Painting is something I love doing too,
and I have found making the textile dolls with the painted designs to be a perfect symbioses.
Another favorite material of mine is coffee.
For drinking and for using on the textile, as a staining medium and as well for mixing paint
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 Guardian Witch Dolls on a bespoke bases,
these are special art dolls who come to life in collaboration with your ideas and wishes.
Thank you for reading
x P x