Meet the Miniaturist – Patrizia Santi

Each month on Miniaturist Bridge we run a special “Meet the Miniaturist” feature, where we spotlight someone who is making a big impact in the miniature community. Throughout this year, we will be talking to everyone from artisans, to gallery owners, to social media influencers. Our industry is vibrant and exciting…. and we will be reflecting that in this series.

This month we are meeting Patrizia Santi – an IGMA artisan who specializes in creating 1:12 scale designer shoes, boots, and bags. Patrizia’s incredible attention to detail helps her to create impossibly small, extremely realistic miniature reproductions of high fashion items. 

We are thrilled to introduce Patrizia to you in our first ever “Meet the Miniaturist” Q&A profile, We hope you enjoy meeting Patrizia, and that you follow her on social media, visit her site, or even catch in her person at an upcoming event!

See this profile page on Miniaturist Bridge for more links!

What is your first memory of being interested in miniatures?

It all started over 20 years ago as a hobby with my first creations, and for about 15 years I’ve been attending fairs worldwide. I was first introduced to this world when in 95’ I attended an event where Queen Mary’s doll house was displayed and from that moment on, this tiny world conquered my heart and stayed with me ever since.

What was the first miniature project that you ever made? How old were you? What got you started, and how did it turn out?

I always used to (and I still do) build or restore ancient furniture, and whenever my hubby is available he joins me. Therefore, the first items I ever made were furnishing pieces and furniture built for my first room boxes.

You got your start when working at your sister’s leather shop. What did you make there, and how did you transition those skills to your miniature art?

I am self-taught in miniatures but I have definitely made good use of some of the competences and skills that came from my former job at my sister’s business, where we used to make leather clothing. In the past, I have also worked with a very talented shoemaker who used to work leather for 1:1 shoes. I really paid attention to what and how he worked the material to have the best result for his creations. I think that I have transferred some skills and adapted them to this tiny world, using my 25 years of experience in leather to my advantage and specializing in mini bags and shoes.

Were there any special challenges that you faced early in your miniature career? How did you overcome them?

During my first years in the miniature world, it was very tough to find information about how to do things. It was a very new territory and at its early stages worldwide.

Back then, the internet wasn’t the great resource it is today for beginners. We had to learn by trial and error and perfect the technique on our way. We didn’t have the mini sized tools that are available today.

Do you have a favorite piece that you made or make? What makes it special?

Yes many, but the creation “the shoes in the century” at Barbara Marshall’s contest in Kansas city contained many unique pieces that needed a lot of research and months of hard work to be created.. Therefore it was like giving away a little piece of me. But it’s okay, because I know that I could make them again if I wanted to, and the whole project gave me so much during the creation that it feels like a part of it is still with me in some ways.

I attended an event where Queen Mary’s doll house was displayed and from that moment on, this tiny world conquered my heart and stayed with me ever since.

Patrizia Santi

How do you go from idea to finished piece of art, and how long does each piece typically take?

I can’t give a time estimation as every piece is unique and the time it takes me to produce a shoe or a bag today is the result of 25 years of experience. To give a right average time, I should consider all the time I have spent to perfect the technique, methods, trials, etc until the final result was satisfying and met my expectations and high standards.

What is the most important skill that you had to master in order to create such beautiful and intricate works of art?

Without any doubt the skills are very important and certain things could also be learned with time and experience. What I can also tell you, is that since I am specialized in purses and shoes, in order to reach a certain level, what you need is practice for sure, but also personal good taste. I believe that it is essential in order to match and create items that would not only go well with each other, but also to create the models and complete them with all the little details and embellishments.

What has surprised you the most in your miniature career?

That it’s a field that is capable of always giving you new inputs. It’s very artsy, always evolving in techniques etc., and during all these years, it has kept my passion alive and my interest always growing.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of designing and creating your miniatures?

I love the fact that by reproducing many real life objects that are very different from one and other, it also takes different skills in order to make them. Therefore, it is very amusing and interesting each time, as it is in fact always a different process and technique. With experience, you can evolve, improve and reach a very high level of realism.

One of the most satisfying things is that many times we feel the urge to reproduce in miniature many items that we like in real life, but probably can’t afford. At least we can have them in such tiny size and have equal satisfaction.

Aside from the products that you sell on your website, do you work on any mini projects for fun? 

Yes I do work on various things to keep myself always busy, and in order to keep my interest always high and open to new possibilities.

There’s no need to directly thing about exhibitions….that’s the last thing you have to focus on.

The journey to get there will form you as an artist and as a creator, and will define the quality of what you produce.

Patrizia Santi

What advice would you give to miniaturists who are designing or creating their own minis either for themselves or to sell or exhibit one day?

I would say that the most important thing is to create what you love, because that’s the only way you will able to meet great standards, be satisfied by what you create, and never get bored. You have to do what makes you happy and proceed step-by-step. There’s no need to directly think about exhibitions..that’s the last thing you have to focus on. The journey to get there will form you as an artist and as a creator, and will define the quality of what you produce.

Aside from your online links (see introduction) where can people find you in 2020? What shows, events, exhibits, publications, or schools will you be at?

Well, on my website homepage there’s always a list of the showcases I’m going to participate in during the year. 

For example the next two will be on the 8-9 February in Milan, Italy the Miniaturitalia and from the 17th to 19th April the Chicago International obviously in Chicago, Illinois-USA.

I think that many of us create things in the mini world that we would like in real life, and in a way it gives us greater satisfaction to have these things in scale.

Tiny things are cute, we love them and I personally love creating them and seeing how realistic they can get in such little scale .

Patrizia Santi