Argentinian sculptor, Flor Panichelli of Sweet Bestiary talks inspiration, clay creatures and how ‘planning wouldn’t hurt’
Flor Panichelli makes beautiful creatures from clay and screenprints in her London-based studio. They represent the imagination and creativity of self-taught maker Flor. Originally from Argentina, this former historical archivist, freelance journalist and teacher talks to us about how and why she creates.
What inspires you and your work?
Many things: nature, memories, other people… I feel particularly inspired by works that denote sensitivity, magic, humour, criticism of modern society, childhood reminiscences, and political (ethical) principals. I’m thinking of Jim Henson, Nick Park (especially Creature Comforts), Tim Burton, Maurice Sendak, Italian writer Stefano Benni, Argentinean writer Julio Cortázar, among others.
How do you create your mini sculptures? Talk us through a little of the creative process.
It depends on the type of creature, but in general: I use paper clay to sculpt, wait for it to dry, then sand it, paint it with acrylics and protect it with either gloss or matt varnish. I’ve only recently started to sketch before putting my hands in clay.
Why did you decide to set up your own business? What has the experience been like?
I knew at some point I needed to go back to a more creative life (the one I had experienced in my childhood and early youth) but never thought of that as setting up my own business. Even today, I struggle to see it as a business; it’s just something I do. Maybe that’s why it’s the most chaotic work experience in my life so far. I guess a bit of planning wouldn’t hurt!