Friday, 20 June 2014

Materials and Techniques - 'Minorca'

The materials and techniques series is a collection of interviews with other creators of handmade crafts. Every fortnight we talk about how each artist makes their creations. Today I am talking with Patricia and Isabel who make toys, puppets, jewellery and artwork. Their online store is Minorca ("little one" in Portuguese) and although they are currently based in Ireland, they are both Portuguese. Pat and Isa are fellow members of the EtsyKids team.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Pat and Isa are a mum and daughter team of two artists from Portugal passionate about illustration and children toys. They currently live in Dublin and their shop took a little vacation while they were travelling the seas looking for inspiration and new adventures.

Pat is a Publishing grad, with a special interest in design, children books, educational and behavior development, and illustration. She's a book lover, a storyteller and a vegetarian.

Isa is a painter and an arts and crafts geek! She has a joyful personality and puts that energy in everything she creates. Her inner child is always ready to come out and play! She loves spring flowers, sparkly things and miniature softies to cuddle and play.

What materials and techniques do you like to use?

Mostly, we work with felt and fabrics (mostly cotton), wool and clay to mold our hand painted brooch pins, acrylics and watercolor, and foam for professional puppets. To make our soft miniature dolls and play sets we like to use the different textures but keep a natural feel and plush toy touch to the toy. We know sensory development is important in younger ages, so we are want to include even more eco-friendly materials and textures in our future designs.

What challenges have you faced in the creative process?

As toy makers, we are always thinking about the kids, what will they like to play with and how can we make it both fun and educational. Recently, we've been challenging ourselves to go beyond the fun and have in mind the creation of toys that have in mind children with special needs (e.g.: autism, muscular dystrophy). So that is our current personal challenge and our inspiration for future creations.

What drives you to create?

Our shop reflects our passion and values in every child friendly and educational toy we make. We believe it is important to surround children with positive influence, natural textures, colour and happiness during their development. We also believe that toys can be not only fun, but also a tool to develop imagination, social, communication and motor skills, so we work towards creating soft toys and professional puppets that will invoke that in all children, including those who have special educational needs.

We are always thinking back to our own experience as kids, from two different generations. Pat loved to play in the dirt, she was always connected to nature and animals (she used to have pet chickens!), so she always loved miniature softies. Isa loved to "play house" with her dolls. We believe it's important to create options to the constant flow of technological entertainment around kids, giving them a way to connect with nature and non-tech environments.

What is coming up next?

To keep growing, to make new toy designs, explore more materials, and give some focus to Isa's art in form of toys, not only wearable art jewellery.

Apart from that, we want to start a Blog and get more connected with people! We hope to achieve this last goal very soon.

As you can see, we love to chat!! So, by all means, visit our Facebook page and say "hi!", we will love to hear from you. You can also reach out to us on Pinterest (we love it!! it's like a waterfall of creativity and fun!!). And, of course, visit our shop and spread the love. :) We will be immensely grateful. :)

Use coupon code 5THANKS for 5% off.

All images provided by Pat and Isa of Minorca.

I'd love to hear about what you create. Have a browse through the archive of previous interviews and then share your story with us.


  1. Hi Kate,
    Thank you so much for the feature! So wonderful! Many thanks!! :)

    1. Not a problem. I love your work, so bright and fun :-)