“Perhaps what makes me different from other crafters that accomplish similar procedures is quite the way how I perceive the frame of the natural content.Each one tells a story.”


“It all started with a rather geeky passion for botanical cataloguing and a very philosophical idealization of Nature. I was born and raised in a grey city, so any immersion in the green is still a moment of absolute joy. I observe leaves and collect findings, I breathe and smile.

Since I live in Lecce (South Italy) this happens to me a lot! And walk after walk I begun to see and identify the small vegetation spontaneously growing not only in the fields by even in town, in the villas and gardens, at the park, in the rather retro cracks of the Baroque palaces. A natural presence that is no how prevented.

On the contrary.

I have always very much liked macro pics in photography. And I believe that the idea of impressing leaves is the immediate consequence of that rather childish leaning towards observation and collection. Polymer clay is perfect to make up this unconventional herbarium because it is very apt to hold the tinier details of the natural texture. The most joyful part of the whole process is when I remove the leaf and discover the negative. Then again, I smile a lot. Once removed the small finding, the most creative moment begins through hand-cut, when I try to build a frame which doesn’t necessarily depict it as an entire, but set it as if a picture. A frame that comes to a completion with the final application of color, after heating.

At present I have refined this simple technique by using two or three colors, as if pendants and earrings were small canvas. For some time now I have been making my own clay blends in order to catch seasonal palettes. I find inspiration in art, but also and perhaps mostly, in fashion. Especially in those designers fostering a “culture of the contrast” and who dare a lot, such as Dries Van Noten, to mention one.

So now, during my walkabouts looking for seedlings, I find myself already being aware of which combination of clay and acrylic will fit this or that plant. It is very amusing. Another style topic has lately popped out throughout the last two years of handicraft practice and that is a completely  spontaneous leaning towards vintage. Particularly in the choice of shapes, such as the oval on leverback earrings or the button earrings that hold a destructured leaf impression, vaguely recalling the 1950s New Look.

It is like those shapes were coming out of somewhere inside my inner world, with no clue of where exactly.”

Who is Paola?

I have been called Madam for a few decades now. A fact that still dazes me. I would say then that the age in which Paola lives does not match the time in which she lives. Here in Lecce they say “Hi Madam!”. A kind way to keep together the contradiction. And it is probably not a coincidence if I moved here to put a distance between me and that Milanese- attitude that too much nuanced the contrast. Lately I can not talk about me without mentioning this biographical data. A new beginning.

How did you start and where does your passion come from?

Here as well, “where” comes together with “when”. In a mood that slows down as in Salento, I succeeded in creating for myself an interior room where to cultivate an handicraft dimension that is to me “female” by definition. A very ancient leaning towards “naturality” that probably comes first as an idea. The path I am in has roots in philosophical practice where I attended the thought of Nature.

I believe what ADèLe says • A Dream of Leaves is the objectification of this process. The name of a woman and an archetypical form…

What would you say to somebody who show a dream like yours?

Handicraft is a practice of the soul. It is essential to spread it in the world, in order to accomplish it. Fear and procrastination are the dragons to be fought.

Projects for the future?

There is a technique I am keen to explore next year and this is the lost-wax casting. The chance to hold the natural findings in a more plastic dimension. Also, I would like to combine further the twofold dispositions of my project — the educational and the creational — by running workshops for kids.

How do you concretely express yourself?

It all starts with walkabout. I go out and I look for an environment where the small local vegetation lives. I spend time nursing gardens and parks. Here I gather the spontaneous seedlings that change at every seasonal change. I also nurse a terrarium outside of my studio, a photographic one. But the most concretely creative moment is when I remove the findings from thw clay and I begin to imagine scenarios as on a small canvas. A macro pic that I complete applying color after heating.

What makes you so special?

How I perceive the frame of the natural content is perhaps what makes me different from other crafters that accomplish similar procedures. Each one tells a story. Another topic is probably the research on the palette. I pay a lot of attention to cromatic seasonal trends and I like to confront with specific shades I produce autonomously in blends.

3 words to describe you

• Searcher: Philosophy is the art of exploring and I am a philosopher who practices this art everyday.
• Tenacious: In many ways: obstinate and steadfast but also resistant and cautious.
• Autumnal: Born in September my best months are those from fall equinox to winter solstice.