Rome is a city full of little things to love, be it the copious gelato, swarms of Vespas, or unparalleled espressos. On a recent trip there, we found a new little thing to love about Rome: It's tiny dogs!
Okay, perhaps not real dogs, but tiny all the same. Artist Annabel June, based in Rome, has a big love of pets that she channels into little, adorable, handmade likenesses.
Annabel June and her dog Noah
We came home with handmade miniatures of some of our beloved School For The Dogs members, and now we are offering them in our shop. School For The Dogs members can receive two for the price of one, with one of them put on display in our East Village studio.
Some of School For The Dogs members, as sculpted by Annabel June.
We asked Annabel June to tell us a little about her unusual occupation:
What inspired you to start making these tiny sculpted portraits?
I have always liked making little things with Fimo -- a kind of German polymer clay. One day I had the idea of making one of dog, so I tried it and then uploaded the picture of it on Instagram. After that, a lot of people asked me if I could do one of their dogs...It all started there!
What is the material/process like of making one?
It takes me around three hours to make one dog, usually using photos as reference. I like having photos from lots of different angles. After its sculpted, I cook them to harder them, and then use a bit of paint to brighten the eyes, nose and tongue.
So your dog was your initial inspiration. Tell us about him!
His name is Noah, abd he is three-year-old red-nose pitbull-type dig. He has chronic gastrointestinal issues and social anxiety with other dogs, both things we are trying to help him live with as best we can. He is my love and I can't really imagine a world without him.
As someone who has a much-loved dog, and who spends so much time studying them in order to create these tiny replicas, I'm sure you've learned a lot about the canine-human bond.
Well, one thing I've learned is that a dog isn't human-- a lot of times they need and prefer different things. It may seem a simple thing to say "they're not human," but when you watch how some people talk to their dog and interact, it often looks like people forget that. You need to learn how your dog express his emotions so you can help him live a less stressful life and be more happy and relaxed. I've learned that when a dog is aggressive, it is really insecurity more than anything else. He may be frightened or simply doesn't know the right way to communicate with other dogs. But there is one thing that I think they do have in common with people: they are usually most happy and most relaxed when they are with people and dogs they love!