Mix together style and talent and you’ll get the sort of miniatures Patrizia Santi creates. We talked to the Italian miniaturist to find out more about her stunning mini leather bags, shoes and beyond!
How long have you been creating miniatures?
It’s probably been two decades at least since I first approached the world of miniatures. At the beginning I started out making small room boxes and little corners mainly as gifts for friends and it basically grew to what it is today – my biggest passion!
What got you first interested in making miniatures?
I’ve always been fascinated by anything creative really, and by small cute things, and creating miniatures is very inspiring. You need to be able to work on many levels by having many skills and developing many more to adapt real size items to such small scale. By making miniatures I get to create things that I love – I couldn’t think about making something I’m not interested in. It wouldn’t turn out well without me being actually excited and loving what I’m doing so that’s a deal breaker I’d say, but it’s for the best because I only aim to create something at the best of my possibilities.
I started out by making little corners, room boxes and house furniture and I’ve seen that that’s how many creators started out at the beginning. With time it evolved into many other things until I found the items that were meant to be for me, so to say. That’s why I specialise in bags and shoes, because I genuinely love them and my previous knowledge of knowing how to work the leather has definitely come into handy. I’ve developed new techniques and skills to adapt such beautiful material to such tiny things.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My number one rule is to love what I do and to get inspired by things I like. That’s why, along with designer bags, I’ve developed my own line, the brand Patrizia Santi. I can actually create my own pieces exactly as I like them to be.
At the end of every creation I try to be very objective in judging what I create and I persevere until I get to the desired results and only at that point I feel comfortable by sharing my creations on my social media for others to see.
“I think that details are crucial in this industry, that’s why I must try my best to deliver to the best result possible, because collectors out there deserve it. Collectors are my biggest boost and they inspire me constantly to do better and always work on new exciting projects.”
Tell us how you go about creating your work?
I check out a lot of fashion magazines, fashion photos taken on red carpets, TV shows or fashion showrooms looking for inspiration. I usually narrow down my choice thinking about how well that precise model would come out in such tiny scale – that’s my number one rule. This doesn’t mean that it has to be easy because it’s never easy when you create something new, but there has to be a certain objective judgment that takes into consideration all the work of the trial phases to create the perfect shoe that I get to show in my store, and the effective outcome that may or may not be achieving the high level that I aim for.
Once the shoe model is decided I start to plan the project from the beginning, dividing it into phases and deciding the materials that I would be using, and then I proceed by replicating what I see for several times until I discover the perfect measurements, pattern, etc. It could take several miniature fails until the right one that would be the definitive piece that will be shown and sold.
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So you're an expert at working with leather now?
I actually like working with leather to create bags and shoes as it makes them look like the real deal – at least from the pictures! It’s also a very particular material to work with and it really takes a lot of experience, therefore the fact that it's challenging makes it actually even more interesting. Regarding house furniture I like working with wood – it’s the best to create items in shabby style as I like.
Where do you make your miniatures? Do you have a dedicated craft room?
I’ve a dedicated craft room – it’s basically my garage converted to a laboratory divided up. There's a painting corner where I paint the sole of my heels, then there’s a big table that I use to let materials set or heels dry, and then there’s a corner where I have a desk surrounded by drawers full of little details that I use in my creations. I have the drawers all piled up because I like to have everything sorted and ready for use as I like my creative process to be smooth, enjoyable and therapeutic.
Do you have a top tip for fellow miniaturists?
One thing that I get asked a lot and constantly is – ‘How can you see the detail in things that you’re creating? Do you use any special glasses, etc?’ At the moment I’m using some glasses that I bought on the internet – they work great and are extremely affordable as well. You can find them by the name Levenhuk Zeno Vizor Head Magnifier and they also come with an LED light and interchangeable lenses.
Do you sell all the miniatures you make?
I’ve made many miniatures during the years and at first, it was something to keep me busy but it soon became therapeutic as well. I benefited a lot from getting creative and doing what I liked and thought, 'you know, I might as well share it with friends' and so I did by giving them miniatures as gifts.
I then began to receive requests from actual customers and it became what it is today – a big part of my life. Creating brings me serenity and something I always say to the amazing people out there who support my work is ‘may these tiny creations bring you big joy into your life as they have done with mine’.
At the end of the day this brings a lot of people together – we share a passion, we share what is a big part of our lives and it has to be a positive experience.
Do you have a favourite project?
I can say wholeheartedly that every single piece I’ve created I’ve loved because otherwise I wouldn’t have made it in the first place. But projects that I’ve loved are basically all custom items that I’ve made because they were new, maybe very different from what I would’ve picked myself and therefore different, challenging and very very exciting to make.
Find out more
Inspired by Patrizia? Learn how to make leather accessories for your dolls house in our easy-to-follow project by Carol Clarke... Or perhaps this luxurious miniature leather handbag tutorial will catch your eye!