Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Flor Panichelli and I’m an Argentinean born into a rather Italian family. I now live in London because of a Londoner I met in Buenos Aires (dancing the tango actually does work wonders!). Before moving to the UK in 2008, I worked cataloging 19th-century documents for many years. Like most Argentinean people who can’t survive on just one job, I also taught media studies at university and worked as a freelance journalist.
Here in London, I live with the above-mentioned amateur tango dancer and our luxurious cat, who has more than twenty different names and is the king of the neighbourhood gardens.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I spend a lot of time cooking; I love to be creative in the kitchen and keep things as vegan as possible. I try to do yoga on a daily basis, with middling success. I also try to break out to the park every time I can. I enjoy cycling through the city during summer nights, and I like to read myself to sleep. Going to the cinema, followed by a meal at a Japanese restaurant, is a perfect night out for me.
What first made you want to become an artist?
As many other artists have said, it happened when I was a child. The difference with me was that I had to travel a long path to get back to square one.
I remember the exact moment I decided I didn’t have enough talent to be an artist: I was 12. At that point my artistic education ceased and I began to focus on a more intellectual career. Eventually I got a degree in media studies and worked in the field of communication (whatever that means).
My life changed when I moved to London. On the one hand, I was struggling with the issue of adjusting and felt the need to connect with my inner world. On the other, being in a new place allowed me to reinvent myself. The last gentle prod was given by my Londoner, who shared with me his philosophy: “The most important thing is that you like what you do.”
Please describe your creative process.
My creative process is quite chaotic. One day I start working early in the morning, and then it’s 1 a.m. and I’m still in the studio. I admire people who can set a routine and follow it; I hope to be one of them someday.
I hardly sketch. It’s more like a mental image and then a lot of trial and error. I start all of my work (be it a doll, a finger puppet or a brooch) by building up a structure. At this stage I recycle as much as I can: wire, newspaper, polystyrene, cardboard, etc. Once I get a solid base, I apply air-drying clay and sculpt the details. I let it dry for a couple of days. Then I sand, paint and varnish. Sometimes I even sew or knit an outfit.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
A collection of crochet samples my grandma knit when she was 10 (and she is almost 90 now). She’s always been a very talented lady.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Build an identity with your work and learn from other Etsy artists’ experiences. I think selling online requires developing a whole range of skills — not just creating nice things, but also taking good photos, writing interesting item descriptions, networking, and bookkeeping. it takes time to learn how to do all this stuff, so don’t despair and be patient with yourself.
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I still remember the first time we sellers had the chance to rearrange our shops — I was jumping with joy! Another thing I love are treasuries; I find them very inspirational. My Etsy Finds emails always help me discover a new favourite artist.
How do you promote your work?
In ten years, where would you like to be?
I am slowly learning to not make big plans and to live more in the here and now. However, I do have wishes, like going back to live in Argentina. Maybe one day…