Sowls are small mischievous spirits. They like to frolic, so don’t forget to feed them sweets, and they will become your best friends!
Celeste: Hi Santani! Thank you for taking time out to chat to us today about your amazing creatures. Can you tell the readers a little about yourself – where are you based, how did it all start?
Santani: Hello! Thank you for the interest and kind words. I am sorry for my bad English, but I will try. I live and work in Moscow, Russia. I started making dolls when I was 15. Since then I’ve never stopped making them till now, so about 10 years. At first I made small full-plastic figures of animals and fantasy creatures like dragons and etc. After 2 years I started to make dolls combining faux fur and clay parts.
Celeste: The combination of sculpting and sewing is an unusual hobby mix – do you sew the dolls and how long did it take you to work it all out?
Santani: Yes, I sew the dolls. Some of the designs are complicated, so it takes me few days to make the furry body of the doll. Big dolls take more time to work them all out (about 2 weeks or 1 month), small ones can be made in 3-4 days.
Celeste: A lot of artists use different mediums, such as polymer clay or resin (which you also sometimes do), but you also use plastic – how did you come to using this medium and do you mold it yourself?
Santani: I suppose it is the language problem. I use polymer clay for my dolls, but in Russia it is called “plastic” too. Also I use Crystal resin.
Celeste: Where do you find inspiration for your creations? You have a wonderful variety from dragons, to inari foxes and then a character called Sowl.
Santani: I search lots of animal pics and combine parts of different animals in my doll designs. I am fond of wild nature and sure, that it is the best inspiration. I like small, cute, furry animals, also I like creepy little beasts like baby bats, little octopi or odd looking hatchlings. I am fond of mixing cute-looking beings with creepy ones.
Celeste: Has there been a character or project that so far has been your favourite, or maybe you have a favourite part of the process?
Santani: I am not sure, but I am in love with spooky birds like owls, hawks and Caprimulgus (Nighjar), so I like to make dolls that look bird-like, but with little creepy feet with claws.
My favourite part of the process is sculpting.
Celeste: Every time I look at one of your art there are just hundreds of comments on people wanting you to contact them to buy one of them – how do you handle this amount of demand?
Santani: I can’t keep tracking all the questions on different pages, and therefore I ask to send questions by e-mail (it is listed on my profile).
I have a best friend who helps me every day to answer dozens of questions that interested people send us.
Celeste: Unfortunately through photos you can’t squeeze, touch or feel your beautiful creatures, so can you explain to us a little about the wireframe concept, as I understand a lot of your dragons have – how do you manage to stuff and sew around it? Or do you layer up the wire, with felt, and then cover it in fur?
Santani: At first i make a sewed body. Then I make a wireframe and put it inside the doll. After that I fill the doll with the granulate (in it’s paws and bottom). Then I put 2 different types of soft filler – the batting and the hollofayber.
Celeste: Thank you so much for taking the time out to answer the questions. Do you have any tips or suggestions for people who are wanting to try their hand at this craft?
Santani: I wish the masters self-confidence. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, everything will work out, if you make [an] effort.
Celeste: Where can people find you online to find out more?
Santani: We have official site and some pages: