It is six years ago now since I first took some cut out letters from a hat and arranged the word Pantovola, Dada style.
I lived on a canal boat in London at the time, and had swapped painting and printmaking for making dolls with fabrics, needle and thread, partly due to the limited space I had available to me,
partly because of fond memories of making cloth dolls with my mother at home as a child.
Six years and so many travels, adventures, dolls, sculptures and stories later…
I thought it would be fun to share some ‘behind the scenes’ pictures with you from the various studios I have created and worked in these years.
I hope you enjoy this little time traveling journey!
…it all began in London, on a narrow boat, gently rocking on the River Lea …
River Lea, London, UK
With everything one needs all in one small space…
My little desk tucked away in a cozy corner there, with two of my first Pantovola doll creations;
Lady Pavlova & Wolf Gustav, just hanging out together among some other critters in the evening sun
In 2016 I moved back up to Edinburgh, and rented a part of an old Victorian house in Leith.
The little room at the back of the house was just the most amazing space,
looking out onto the gardens, beautiful morning light and all sorts of animals wondering about in the trees and on the stone garden walls.
This would be my first ‘real’ studio space, dedicated only to my art work
Fond creature making memories…
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
I soon filled it with lots of second hand and antique furniture and trinkets that I gathered from the local charity shops, of which Edinburgh has plenty
Here you see Talula and Hettie Hare, which were just completed, and the Singer sewing machine I had just picked up from a second hand shop. It didn’t have that thing you need to put the bobbin on, so I stuck in a painting brush instead, do you see it?
For a little magical moment in time I also stayed in a rather old cottage, situated in a serious glen on the banks of a gorgeous river in Glenelg, the Highlands, Scotland.
There you can just about see the roof of the house behind the shrubs:
I loved the little porch / entrance space, a tiny hallway basically, as it had the most amazing view out onto the glen and the river, especially on the rare occasion the sun would peak its head over the hill.
So I put my easel there and painted quite happily in the hallway!
Glenelg, Scotland Highlands, UK
There was a large room also where I had my work table and supplies, but I didn’t live in this house for a very long time, so I never really managed to finish this studio. It did what it had to do for the time being though, and I made some of my favorite art dolls and sculptures in this room,
such as The Pigeon Princess,
The Night Sky Harlequin and Tuva (can you see them there on the red velvet?)
After rain in Scotland comes sunshine, and I found plenty of that in Galicia, Spain, where I lived some two years and a bit.
First I rented a very old farm house in a tiny hamlet, and I worked in this here room at the top of the house (the pink curtains came with the house…)
Ponte Mera, Galicia, Spain
It is where I created my Theatre of Tales collection….
and this is my Theater Lady Sculpture in the making…and do you see my Blue Moon Man in the background?
Golden star and moon face ornaments in the making
A little later on I moved into another farm house of a friend a few villages down the road in the mountains, a beautiful place with Yasmin flowers growing outside the window there,
filling the space with the most gorgeous fragrance.. Also, I just loved those beams!
Devesos, Galicia, Spain
I created The Dreaming collection in this space, and the Christmas Winter Woods collection 2018 also.. (You can spot my Winter Woods theater is in the making there on my desk in the picture above)
And then finally after London, Edinburgh and The Highlands via Spain, I have been stuck in my native land during the pandemic, it has probably been the longest period of time in one place for me since the moon landing!
So I have really been able to go all out in this attic space and painted a forest on the walls (because there are no real forests here.. which is quite sad…)
Making my textile doll “The Dollmaker”
This is where I have made my most recent works, with the help from my loyal Singer sewing machine from the 70’s, under the watchful eye of my Maria, who I have since I am 16 years old, whose head broke off more than once, and who was once a suspect in a France-UK customs adventure which resulted in her being X Ray-ed…
Spoiler alert: she was innocent…!
Dearlings, I hope you enjoyed traveling through time with me and the dolls.
I am feeling a little nostalgic now and am keeping my fingers crossed we can soon resume our travels and journeys. We all can use some of that I believe…
In any case, I have felt truly blessed to have been able to live out my gypsy life dreams and create my dolls and creatures along the way.
So thank you all for your support, it sounds cliché perhaps, but I could not have done it without you
x P x
Oh, the places you’ve lived! So many memories and creations! Of course, the Lady was innocent! Love your artwork…
Thank you Nancy, it sure has been a blast and a real blessing to be able to do.
Fingers crossed we will soon be able to travel a little bit. Yes, Maria was innocent, we had quite a giggle though
Anouk, I absolutely loving your beautiful stories and pics behind how you started your stunning fiber arts!!! Love Riitta.
Thank you dear Riitta, I am glad you enjoyed it! Will you plan to visit Finland again when it is possible? x
Everywhere you have been you have made beautiful….. What a life you have had….
Thank you Hazel, it has been quite a journey and keeping my fingers crossed we will soon be free again x
Oh, the places you have lived! Such adventures. I have always wanted to travel but alas I’ve only travelled in my dreams.
It’s so much fun to see photographs of the studio spaces where your beautiful creations have been born. The person who sold you that Singer sewing machine had no idea how much beauty it was about to bring into the world through your hands and imagination. Hope we will all have more freedom soon. xox Constance
Thanks so much Constance! It has been a great machine, I got it from a charity shop and have been super happy with it. I don’t want to sound ancient, but they don’t make machines this durable anymore! Stay well xoxo
What a wonderful post! I have loved your beautiful work for awhile now and it brings a whole new dimension to see these lovely spaces and photos. I feel closer to knowing you even thousands of miles away. Thank you for sharing.
That is really nice to hear Carole, and was what I was hoping for when posting this 🙂