I’m excited to be posting the first in a series of creator spotlight posts today! These posts will focus on interviewing and finding out more about some of my favourite artists and makers and hopefully bring your attention to some creative people you may not have seen before!
First up we have Daria (@lapka_arts on instagram) who sculpts gorgeous art dolls…
Q1. Firstly, would you mind introducing yourself and describing your work briefly for those who may not have seen it before?
A1. Hi! My name is Daria Lapto, 26 y.o. I make dolls and creatures using clay and textiles, myth and fantasy.
Q2. When did you start creating dolls and what made you start? How do you think your work differs today from your earliest work?
A2. When I was 19 I sculpted my first figurine – it was a Moomin, a cute character from Tove Jansson’s book. I fell in love with sculpting – creating soft and expressive shapes from clay is what I enjoy most. Then I got to know about mixed technique and wanted to try it because I liked the idea of combining different materials and textures. My work has become more detailed since I began. I’ve tried new materials – I started with air-dry stone clay and now I mostly work with oven-bake polymer clay because it gives so much more artistic freedom. My skills in sculpting, painting and sewing have grown but I still love my old dolls dearly.
Q3. What sort of things inspire you and your work?
A3. My biggest inspiration is fauna and myths around it. There are so many animals created by nature and to me they’re almost like aliens – weirdly shaped and colored, with a whole unknown world in and around them. No wonder that human culture is full of stories about strange creatures like unicorns, werewolves or jackalopes. It’s important to see beyond and explore ourselves as humans surrounded by other living souls that are so different from us.
Q4. Could you talk us through your creative process abit?
A4. I usually get a very vague idea of what each creature is going to look like. So I just start sculpting and clay gets a form and then I choose colors and eventually decide on the details. I really rely on my hands a lot and make dolls almost without thinking on some stages. Firstly I have a very general image of what I’d like to see. I sculpt details from clay and wait for them to dry or bake them. Then I sand them, paint them with acrylics, wait for the paint to dry again and cover it with several layers if varnish. Then it comes to the sewing part. I enjoy working with textiles a lot because of the textures. But it’s also the most difficult part for me because I often have to struggle to make the work look neat. When I see the doll finished I almost can’t believe I made it, seems like they just appear on the table by themselves and it feels great.
Q5. What sort of things are you currently working on? Are there any projects/ideas you’ve never tried before but would love to?
A5. I’m experimenting with the shape of my dolls currently. For the last couple of years I got used to making one form and now I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone with bigger heads, various clay textures and position of limbs. And I’m going to pottery classes so I hope I’ll be able to use ceramics in my art soon 🙂
Q6. Your dolls are all so distinctive and unique, where do you get the ideas for each one from? Do you mainly create custom dolls or sell pre made ones?
A6. Thank you! As I said, I rarely have clear ideas before I actually start sculpting. I think, like, I want to make a pug. Will this be a unicorn pug? He looks grumpy, why? But he’s so sweet. Maybe someone dropped an ice-cream cone on his head.
I dunno, this is hard to explain 🙂 I mainly work on my own projects but love to take commissions as well.
Q7. And finally where can people buy your work and how much do you charge for your dolls?
A7. I have an etsy shop – etsy.com/LapkaArts. Prices differ a lot, you can get a rough estimate for items like brooches, mounts and dolls in FAQ section of the shop.
Q8. Bonus question; is there any question you’ve never been asked about your work but would love to be or something extra you’d like to tell the readers I may have missed out?
A8. Originally I started to make dolls because it gave me a feeling of security. World is often chaotic and unexplainable and it is nice to have something friendly to grab on to. I hope that when people bring my work to their homes they can share this feeling. I want let them know that it’s okay to be confused and to feel out of place. I love to think that my dolls become talismans for their people, something that can be associated with lust for wonders as well as with home and safety.
Thankyou so much to Daria for taking time to answer my questions- make sure you go and follow her on social media to keep up with her work!