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Lydia Ricci: I'm a Scrappy Passionista

Anyone who knows us is well aware that we love big things and little things. So when our sister, Beth, first introduced us to Lydia Ricci's amazing miniature sculptures we were ecstatic. Add to that fact there her Lilliputian creations tend to have a retro flair that transports us back to our childhoods and we were instantly hooked. Take for example, Lydia's sleeper sofa. It is, coincidentally, an exact replica of the couch in our grandparents living room. We would sleep on this when we spent the night with Grammy and Binky. Lydia's work is so detailed that we can actually feel the texture of the real couch beneath our fingertips.

Courtesy of Lydia Ricci

On this week's episode of The Passionistas Project Podcast, Lydia shares what inspired her to create her first sculpture and what keeps her going. Here's an excerpt from our interview with Lydia. Passionistas: How did you get started and how did your passion translate into your art? Lydia: I always made something on the side. Even at my job, I still made a little collage to capture the day or I used to do print making at night. So I've always needed some other outlet during the day to feel completely accomplished. Even though my day to day life is graphic design, which I would say is a very creative outlet as well, but I don't feel like it was ever enough. You know, I'm working for clients, I'm getting their vision accomplished, so I would make something that would kind of document, I guess it's equivalent to someone creating a journal. But I would typically always document certain moments in time, maybe in the past or the future perhaps, but often in the present. And so then I don't know why collaging was always something. Maybe I don't have enough confidence in just drawing straight, you know, just pen and ink or you know, sketching. So I always kinda created a 2D collage, just a flat piece of work, some glue, ripped up, this, that. And then all of a sudden making them 3D. I was trying to capture my fear of driving. I moved to the suburbs after living in New York. I lived in San Francisco for about 10 years. I lived in Pittsburgh for four years and I lived in Brooklyn for five years. And so it was time to move out to the burbs and still take the train and stuff. But I had to drive once a day and literally I'd wake up in the morning and think about driving. I’d drink coffee and think about driving. I think about, you know, I had a young kid. I'm nervous about my young son. I was obsessed with health, you know? Okay, so I'm going to go in the right lane. I'm going to turn here. It was crazy to kind of deal with that. I made cars, cars that were relevant in my life. So I made the green Dodge. I think it's one of the first cars I ever remember being driven around in. And I don't know if I have good memories about it or bad memories about it. It's just a quintessential car in my life. And it took me, you know, a few weeks to make this a little bit during the day between projects and things like that. I carried it home and I remember I put it on the mantle and I thought 'I'm going to make another one.' And I did. And so that kind of kicked off making things. But then I realized I was making them out of all of these artifacts that I kind of had collected two or three boxes of. Then it turned into four or five boxes that turned into half of my studio now. So these boxes became a very valuable medium for the projects. Passionistas: Describe your art for someone who hasn't seen it. Lydia: They’re small sculptures of everyday objects, kind of the stuff you forget that's around you. It's been around you for, you know, it could be today, it's right next to you or it was 20 years ago. And what I realized too, it's in all the photos that you have in all around your house. It's this object that in many ways was around for more memories maybe than some people. So there are these tiny objects that can fit in your hand. They're not completely in miniature. You can see they're all different scales and they're, for lack of a better word, collage assembled of the ephemera — which is a word I've just learned in the past few years — from boxes and old paper, old bits and bobs, old tape, old tickets, staples. I don't want you to really see what the object is made up, but I believe it holds a bit more memory because it is made of the materials that big also been in our lives for just as long. And that you would probably throw away. You can hear Lydia’s entire interview here. And to see Lydia's work go to

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