Meet Michela. A very personal Q&A with the incredibly talented artist behind our Panettone packaging.
As you may have noticed, our panettoni this year have a very special, and unique, packaging. It has been an incredible labour of love, and we couldn't have done it without the super talented and overly kind Michela at Dandelion Art.
This very personal Q&A is to show you a bit more of her personality, her work and perhaps show you why we loved working with her so much. Enjoy!
Q: Tell us a little about you. Where are you from, how long have you been living in the UK, how did you start/become an artist?
A: I was born in Rome and grew up in the outskirts. In 2012 I Ieft Italy in a spontaneous move to Cork, Ireland, then later that year moving to London to start work as a tattoo artist.
I clearly remember the first day I had paint on my hands - it was my first day at nursery, and like all kids I didn't want my parents to leave. The teacher tried to convince me with toys, books, and even the sandbox, but nothing worked until she showed me to the painting corner.
I remember looking at a blob of red paint sitting in front of me and it was fascinating, enough to completely forget about my parents and everyone else in the room.
Q: What are you passionate about in your work?
A: Being able to always learn something new, in my work and life in general is my main interest. I need to constantly be in a position of learning. Even though I'm shy and unable to share most of my personal artwork, I love putting my skills to use for people who want to share something, but struggle with making it themselves.
Q: What is your favourite material to work with?
A: That's a hard question to answer. I love handmade papers, even though writing on them is much, much harder than normal paper, but I think paper and ink are the easy ones to pick up and bring anywhere. As for materials themselves, I love glass. I imagine it as a material that can freeze time/moments in time; wood and marble, because they have textures, tactile and it’s always fascinating to see the shapes that get carved out of them.
Q: When a customer asks you for an invitation, or a packaging (!), how do you know what the end result will look like? Do you see it before you even start or it’s a progression alongside the clients hints and suggestions?
A: It's very important for me to understand the person who's commissioning, by getting a little deeper and having an understanding of them and the person they're wanting to gift. It really helps me in the creative process and I'm also very honoured when people open up to me - I know it can be hard, feel weird, and painful sometimes, so I take it as a very serious matter. Sometimes I imagine people think I'm not listening in such a crucial part of the commission, but what truly happens is that as I’m listening, I am already forming a visual in my head from the words and feelings that they’re telling me. So I kind of have a vision of what the end result will look like, but I also keep feeding off the info the clients gave.
Q: What music do you listen to while you work?
A: It really depends on the mood I'm in and the artwork I'm creating, it can really affect what I’m working on. Artists and playlists I never tire of are from film soundtracks such as Paolo Buonvino (Medici soundtrack), and John Lunn and Eivør (The Last Kingdom Soundtrack). For personal work I often listen to slightly darker music such as Damien Rice, Billie Eilish and Trent Reznor.
Q: Tea or coffee?
A: Espresso always, but herbal teas when the sky isn't blue (I am in London afterall).
Q: Your favourite food?
A: Ravioli spinach and ricotta, butter and sage with parmesan.
Q: Projects for the future?
A: Apart from learning hundreds of new crafts, my life goal is to preserve the human history of crafts, restore community and empathy by founding a university/academy for 'the ancient' crafts, free for all up to 18 years old.
I'd like to offer a place where kids can learn the value of hand making, are encouraged to be creative and make mistakes, and hopefully learn to be there for each other. I believe it would be helpful on so many levels, from creating little entrepreneurs, to easing the mental health crisis impacting young generations.
Appreciating the work that goes into hand making would hopefully lead to a more eco-conscious way of living, and as a consequence create local communities and micro-economies that don't cost us the earth. I said it already, it's a life goal, got to be big!