My name is Estelle Marchal and I started “Les Ptitsmobiles” in 2009 while I was living in Denmark.
I would pick pieces of driftwood I would find on the beach, and to occupy my free time, I started modelling sea creatures and birds in polymer clay. I guess I found my inspiration in my childhood. So far I can remember, we always have been surrounded by animals… Geese, peacoks, ducks, chickens, rabbit, you name it! And in the summertime we would always go by the sea side. I never really grew up because even as an adult now, I find the same excitement in watching in those small pool the sea is leaving behind when the tide is down, and where one can see a lot of life. Not mentioning every single episodes of Jacques Cousteau’s documentaries I watched as a kid, with my dad.
Then you may wonder, why mobiles? Many reasons I guess that truly reflect who I am.
I do not have children myself but for some reason I care and I just want them all to feel secure and happy. Especially at night. I have this fantasy that, with all the love I put in my artwork, my mobiles can protect them while they are asleep, and that each of my figurines have its own ability (like super heroines or heroes). Everything with claws and beaks would pinch monsters hiding under the bed, cephalopods would fight night terrors with their tentacles, fish would sing awfully wrong and deafen anything with ears, etc. And to make it real, they all have big round eyes glowing in the dark, to express that “yes, I am here, don’t you worry, I am watching your back”.
But it works in the day time too. You are having a bad day? Look at my whales and their exhausted look, they are complaining all the time about everything. Look at my foxes surrounded by VERY happy hens, don’t they make you smile? Look at my birds, my fish, my “Italian” hermit crabs with their goofy expression, don’t they make you smile? That is the reason why I am doing that too, I want to make you smile.
So there is a lot of love, a lot of colours, a lot of silly expression in the work I do, but it takes a lot of time for me to shape every single figurine, choose the right pieces of wood, mount it all together, and create a unique mobile. They can look similar but they will never be the same. Each piece of wood is different, each expression, colour, shape is different. Each mobile is unique and reflect what I wanted to create at that particular moment.
I hope you will embark with me, just like a silly starfish riding on a stingray’s back, and I hope I will make you smile.