Who is that beautiful person reclining upon a bed of monsters? Why, it is Tania of course, otherwise known as Ninon, plush maker extraordinaire! I have been watching the development of Tania’s work over the past months and every time she uploads an image of her latest creature creation onto Flickr I am blown away. I adore her insistence on spontaneity and the uniqueness of each of her ‘monsters’, there will never be two the same, Tania must plug into some super-saturated well of creative energy! I was desperate to find out some more about Tania’s creative process so you can imagine how thrilled I was when she agreed to appear on LL&O. I am still pining for Nero Bolotovski (the wolfy man bellow), he belongs to another, I would love to know who was lucky enough to scoop him up.
Devastating plush charm!
Only Gaspard E. Pinopine (above) could make up for the loss of Nero. Hmmm, sorry, let’s get on with the interview.
Tell us a little about yourself, the media you work with and your creative process.
“My name is Tania Patritti, I was born in a little town in the Alps in northern Italy almost 31 years ago, but after many moves around italian cities, last year I decided to move to Berlin…and now I am really enjoying it!! I have a degree in History of Art and I am interested in photography, animals, music, cooking vegan food, cinema and, of course, crafting.”
“I started sewing using my mother’s sewing machine in 2001, my first mission was to make my own bags and some clothes for me and my bravest friends… I’ve always liked the idea of wearing things that are unique and I think it’s a bigger satisfaction walking around with something handmade, even if it’s very simple and not perfect. I like imperfections. I can’t stand the idea of “serie”, in fact everything I make is one of a kind. A lot less boring….”
“At the moment I am working full time on my crafting projects. Lately I am mainly focused on my softies “Les Monstrìs”. I started making them 5 years ago and I like the fact that they are evolving everyday…I’ve always been drawing little strange creatures and in the years I felt the need to bring them to the 3rd dimension. My first attempt was with papier mache, but later I decided to make them softier with fabric and polyfill..in fact I am a fabric addict and the part of the job that I enjoy the most is to put colorful fabric together.”
From where do you draw your inspiration: music, books, people, nature etc?
“My inspiration comes from everything that surrounds me, my drawings, movies, dreams, insomnia, people, ideas given by friends, internet, memories of my childhood…I like to challenge myself and feel the subtle evolution of my work day by day.”
“I like the fact that the idea of making something in a certain way often comes without even thinking about it! I definitely follow my instinct when I am hand-making something. I don’t use or make patterns. For me the feeling of freedom that comes with this job is very important and for this reason I prefer working on my own projects instead that on commission, even though I am open to work with/for people with whom I feel that there is a common view on things.”
If you could talk briefly about the background to one of your pieces which would you choose and why? Tell us the story behind the piece.
“Mmh, to answer this tricky question I went over my archive of pictures of Les Monstris and figured out that maybe Desperate Junino is the one that has something to tell…: I made him in the summer of 2007 when I was living in Turin…it wasn’t a very happy phase of my life and this somehow reflected on the faces of the monsters that I was making at that time. Junino was my first attempt in using a little bit of free hand machine embroidery technique and what I like most about him is that it’s closer to the drawing that I was making and much more expressive. Usually I don’t like softies that are cute just for the sake of it, I appreciate more the ones that have something “twisted” in them.”
“I hope not to sound too immodest with what I am going to say, but, another reason why I am so fond of Desperate Junino is because of the person that bought him from me. I had a booth at a summer festival in Turin where Sonic Youth were playing and at some point in the afternoon Lee Ranaldo came over and we chatted a bit and then he chose Desperate J. and another one for his two children, that are really into softies…now, can you imagine your favorite guitar player of your favorite band since you were 15 taking a picture of you and your stupid monsters? I was so embarassed, but trying to look laid back somehow…yes, in fact here I am, telling you this story 2 years later, eheheh… I was very happy also because he chose my favorite one!”
That story just kills me! Can you imagine what an incredible rush it must be to have a member of your favourite band take your work home? Thank you so very much Tania, I loved reading your responses and have been inspired to inject a bit more spontaneity into my own work. As both me and Tania share a love of Sonic Youth I thought it would be fun to share our favourite songs with you. Tania’s first and mine to follow. Have fun jumping around to these!