Tell us a bit about yourself.
My real name is Doris, but when I studied in Italy, the Italians couldn’t pronounce my name — it sounded like “Dorisse.” Soon, this became my nickname among friends, and finally my artist and label name. In my Etsy shop, Paper Statement, I offer jewelry made of paper and cardboard.
After studying art history and Italian literature, I worked as a tour guide in Italy during the summer, leading people through museums and cities such as Milan, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Naples, Pompeii and Palermo. In the colder season, I taught Italian in Germany and began to love this work. So I studied teaching German as a foreign language, and teaching German is now my day job. I need both sides in my life: working with people and creating at home. Since the birth of my six-year-old-daughter, my life is more calm and structured. We live now in my hometown near Munich, Germany, in an exceptionally supportive little neighborhood.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I really like my work as a German teacher. Where else do you have the chance to know so many interesting people from all over the world who are staying in your own little town? Getting to know different cultures and ways of thinking, and recognizing that there are so many different ways to live makes the mind free from established patterns and beliefs.
I pass my free time with my daughter and by playing piano, reading, dancing, and gardening during summer time.
What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
I Did It My Way. This line from the Frank Sinatra song encouraged me so often during difficult times.
Where does your inspiration come from?
A friend of mine started calling me an “Ornamentist” years ago. Yes, I love ornaments, structures, textures and patterns — the repetition of identical elements. I like amorphous soft shapes, asymmetry, proportion and color combinations. I can find them everywhere.
What does handmade mean to you?
Something new, well-planned, elaborate and aesthetically ambitious that is precisely crafted — these are my criteria for quality in handmade things. That is what I aspire to create for a lifetime.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
Without my mother, who always insisted on handmade gifts, I certainly would not have experimented with so many different techniques.
Nowadays, I have a “family quality control,” which is when a prototype passes the critical eyes of my sister (I adore her taste for vanguardia), as well as the three architects in my family (my father, brother and sister-in-law). Their comments are often inspiring, and if they like the object, I am sure that I am on the right path. Recently, my gallerist is very important, because she is convinced that I am an artist and encourages me to make more art than craft.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
At 13, I sold my bead jewelry to fellow students. At 18, I was convinced I was an artist. At 21, I realized that I was not, and studied art history and registered my craft shop. I’ve always been creative: knitting, crocheting, sewing, making Venetian masks, bead jewelry, Christmas ornaments, mosaic, painting on glass, silk and porcelain (my other Etsy shop is ArtOnPorcelain) and, of course, painting. Being creative is my life.
How would you describe your creative process?
Once I have a new project, I work all the details out in my mind. I lay on my back with closed eyes, experimenting with variants and the technical realization. I always have a little sketchbook with me where I am fixing ideas. Once I know what I have to do, the execution is a relatively mechanical procedure. For fading out my wandering mind (there are always so many things that have to be done), I listen to audio books while I’m working. In order to solve technical problems, I check out lots of books with craft instructions.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
I would like to know Leonardo da Vinci, whom I admire as uomo universale. His studies, research, projects and inventions were groundbreaking, and his engineering work was way ahead of his time. In the Museo Leonardiano, I saw realizations of his construction designs in the engineering work … incredible!
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have several works by artist friends that are important to me, but I cherish most the socks my grandma knitted for the whole family until she passed away. They all ended up with me, and I’ll wear and darn them forever.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
When I do not feel the urge to create, I enjoy the break and try to do things I usually don’t have time for. That is, until I feel the itch in my fingers again (usually very soon).
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I would like to be just as independent and free as I am now to create whatever and whenever I want, without external pressures and force. I want to experiment with new techniques and materials and acquire more technical skills (such as bookbinding, upholstery and welding). Somewhere along the way I’d love to have the chance to make some huge sculptures and installations.