Well would you look at that, it’s time for another ‘Exploring Etsy’, time sure does fly. From our adventures in the Southern Hemisphere last time, we’re now crafting our way North to the ‘Sunshine State’, so be sure to put on your best pair of shades and pack the sun cream. Today’s amazing maker is the inspiring Valentina Felce whose shop ‘Blue Raspberry Designs’ is truly stunning.
Valentina is a designer and illustrator based in Florida. Since getting a Bachelor’s degree in the Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts she has been making dolls for a couple of years and has found it to be one of her most rewarding projects to date (with such stunning work it’s certainly rewarding for us too!) Blue Raspberry Designs was the featured shop in the Fall 2013 edition of “Stuffed” Magazine, and was also featured in the “Dolls Art” exhibit at the Old Jaffa Museum in Tel Aviv, Israel.
What is your earliest stitching memory?
I would like to say that I’ve been handy with a needle and thread since I was a little girl, but the truth is, my first sewing class in middle school was a disaster! I couldn’t even sew a straight line or get a button to stay on a sweater for more than a day. My attempts in college weren’t much better, but I knew if I was going to open a doll shop I’d have to learn. I was determined to make my little endeavour a success. It took a lot of time and patience, but thanks to my mom and lots of scrap fabric, I finally mastered the process! Now I absolutely love sewing, of course. You can’t let the small stuff, (or major skills in my case), get in the way. Just dive in and don’t be scared to totally suck at first! Every artist has to start somewhere.
What fires your imagination?
My biggest inspirations are the original days of sideshow acts, sailor tattoos and vintage photos of the circus. Most of my dolls have some elements taken from those things, actually. Obviously tattoos play a huge role in my design process, but what’s most important to me is that my dolls express uniqueness. My creations are one of a kind, just like people. I want to make sure that they have distinct personalities and that everyone who looks at them can see that being different is beautiful, too. For me, dolls are a blank canvas to let my imagination run wild and paint an entire character onto, without being limited to what they look like on the outside.
It’s not just Valentina’s work that I love, but her whole philosophy and approach to her work. We can never have enough people like her! Many more characters are just waiting to be discovered by you all in her shop.
Jessica Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins is a Textile Artist and Illustrator based by the sea in Portsmouth. At her happiest with a needle and thread, with a passion for genealogy she often explores old photographs in her textile art. With her fingers in many creative pies she loves to experiment with new techniques, creating illustrated and stitched goodies for her new Etsy shop.