On a recent browse around flickr, I came across pictures of these enchanting clay figures by brand new etsy seller sweet bestiary. I immediately knew I wanted to feature them! Ms. Sweet Bestiary, Flor, kindly agreed to answer some questions, so here we have the first ever oranges and apples interview. I’ll just jump straight in:
You describe yourself as a handful of “ex”s: (ex archivist, ex teacher, ex journalist)’. That sounds exciting, do you want to tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Well, I’m a 32 year-old from Argentina living in London. Formally I trained in journalism and media studies at Buenos Aires University and became a teacher there after I graduated in 2002. During the same period I worked for several years cataloguing historical documents at the Buenos Aires Historical Archives. I also wrote articles about city culture for magazines. When I moved to London in 2008, I started teaching Spanish. And I recently (and happily) quit all these things to start doing what brightens me up: working with my hands, freeing my imagination, creating characters and the stories behind them. I haven’t taken an art class since I was 12 and have tons of things to learn but I feel fulfilled just by being on this magical path.
How did you come to be a ‘maker of sweet beasts’? When did you first know you wanted to become an artist?
Actually, I had given up the idea of becoming an artist many years ago (twenty, to be precise) and it wasn’t until I left my country that I stopped worrying about all the years I had “invested” in my academic career and allowed myself to do what I really wanted, regardless of how ridiculous it sounded to my colleagues/bosses/mates. Moving country (strictly for reasons of love) ended up being a chance to reinvent myself in the most authentic way.
Your dolls and finger puppets seem like proper fully formed characters! How do you come up with these characters and what is the creative process from idea to final product?
I must confess I don’t usually have an idea before starting. There is quite a lot of spontaneity in my working process. I mostly play with the clay (I use air-drying clay on top of a paper mache structure): try something out, go back, then try something else (before the clay dries, obviously!), big ears, smaller ones, straight hair, no hair, etc. That’s how I teach myself, I guess. I’m more organized when it comes to painting (to avoid ruining all the work done) and I might try colours, patterns and lines beforehand. In general, the stories come up once they’re finished or at the final stage. I just look at them and the whole thing emerges.
Please tell us your current favourite etsy sellers, artists or craftspeople.
This is a hard one. Of course there are so many…. This is a tiny sample, and I’m sadly aware I’m leaving out lots of other favourites: fricdementol, DearDodo, mummysam, tushtush, irisschwarz, Ohmycavalier, stitchface, sleepyking, stepanka, benconservato, Dilkabear, crankbunny, Yokoo, loulouandoscar, elsita, elinart, woolandwater, doubleparlour, kjoo, ilovegreyskies, HeliS, heidiburton, ChristinaRomeo, ErinTyner, annafabo, eclu, DuBuhDuDesign, tinctoy, holli, behappynow, MarmeeCraft, timssally, PearsonMaron, ellemoss, GollyBard, FoxandClover, astulabee, Roadside, SharonMontrose, daphnecellophane…Outside etsy: Camilla Engman, Gustavo Aimar, Le train fantome, Juliana Bollini… and I could keep going for ever….
all photos by sweet bestiary, obviously!