Papier-mâché magic - Mishelino Studio

Waiting for inspiration can be a difficult time. It cannot be forced or taken when you want to. It needs to be nurtured, developed, and fed. Paths to inspiration are different and unique for each one of us. But it is always helpful to hear someone else experience and try to find a similar spark within yourself. The duo behind the Mishelino Studio found their inspiration in the ancient technique of paper-mâché while searching through old family Christmas ornaments. Their story is warm and full of love. A testimony to tradition and craftsmanship, entangled with great dedication to their brand.

Where are you from? Where does the art journey start for you? 

“ Mishelino” studio is a collaboration of two artists. We live and create in Ukraine. Before the creation of “Mishelino”, each of us was interested in different genres of art in his own way: painting, graphics, illustration and sculpture. Today, all this is harmoniously combined at the heart of our creative process.

What is the first emotion that drives you towards creating an art piece? Do you recognize the connection immediately and let yourself flow on the creative process? Or do you "bake" the inspiration for some time?

Initially, the main art object in our work is a tree ornament made of papiemache. Each piece is an anthropomorphic character made by hand from the beginning to the end, from the creation of the frame to the painting. Every time the process of creating an ornament is like a game. You may have a ready-made idea, but papiemache will always make you play with him properly according to his rules. In this game, you need to manage to catch the intended character as successfully as possible for that cute ear, for a suitable paw or a perfect nose.

Grab and hold the image both in your head and with your hands, because papiemache instantly responds to the movement of the artist's hands, offering more and more new details of the character's image. The game will end when the character comes to life in your hands. 

According to our observations, any idea still continues to transform and improve at each of the stages of creation. This is an incredibly exciting process!

What is the back story of your design? Because every one of us sees the world through separate lenses. How hard it must be to transfer it to other people?

In the fall of 2017, we were sorting out old boxes and found a family collection of Christmas tree toys in one of them. It is amazing that these small fragile antique toys became our guide to the world of childhood. They easily immerse us in warm memories of family holidays and faith in goodness and miracle. Somehow, we suddenly wanted to be involved in this enchantment, in the magic of ancient technologies of creating Christmas decorations in the papiemache technique. 

That's how our story with Mishelino began. 

In October 2017, we have created our own author's papiemache technology that would ideally suit our requests for creating art pieces. 

Each of the characters is in unique piece, and some of them create entire collections. Such as the collection of Christmas ornaments "Zhakikoo". 

Zhakikoo is the main character. He's a traveler and he always wears a red hat. Little Zhakikoo travels around the world, friends with cachalots and other animals, flies into space, and even has been to the Moon. We were inspired to create him by the French researcher Jacques Yves Cousteau. 

This is one of the favorite heroes of our collectors.

When it comes to making a living from your art, what are the main struggles? And what would be your advice for starting artists?

If we take the biography of any of the artists at the beginning of their creative path, almost every one of them experienced  painful doubts about the correctness of the chosen way.

 We believe that you should do what you want and not to listen to anyone. Just believe in yourself!

What do you prefer, single pieces or storytelling through a whole project? And what approach do you use in each case?

Working in “Mishelino” is an endless flight of imagination. Mishelino's creation was based on the idea of a craft Christmas ornament. But as time goes on, there are more and more ideas. And we embody some of the ideas in painting and sculpture. Each character is like a small puzzle of a single piece. They are both independent characters, but also easily fit into the overall picture of Mishelino's world.

Why do you use certain materials? What connects you with them, and makes you feel they are perfect for your art piece?

The main material in our work is papiemache. We have studied and developed the author's technique of creating artworks from this material. 

Initially, the Christmas tree toys of our childhood were made of papiermache. In a wonderful way, it keeps the warmth of the hands and the soul that the author invests in its creation. The material is durable, lightweight and eco-friendly. 

We would really like to preserve the ancient traditions of paiemache with our creativity not only in the Christmas ornaments, but also in art in general.

What does ART, in general, mean to you?

Art is one of the chances here and now to stop and look at the World from a different angle.

The FOURLINEdesign team would like to thank Mishelino Studio for sharing inspiring thoughts with our community.