Art

This artist makes lucky charms that look like cute little animals

Paris-based ceramist Sara Theron of studio Dodo Toucan creates charming little masks and totems that will brighten up your day, and hopefully, even bring you luck.

Launched back in 2015, Theron’s collection of ceramic figures are all handmade in her enchanting and vibrant style. Her characters usually come in the form of nature spirits or forest creatures, some of which even serve as good luck charms.

For instance, she has a line of little sprite-like characters that she calls ‘Mini Grigri’. They’re so small, you can carry them in your pocket or bag to bring in good fortune on-the-go.

If you’re looking for decorative items, her animal figurines will add a dash of whimsy to your home. Some of the sculptures she often makes are of big cats, such as tigers, leopards, and panthers, but she also produces other species like wolves, bears, and penguins.

We recently caught up with Theron to know more about her craft.

How would you describe your ceramics style?

“It’s very colorful and naïve. It represents animals and lucky charms, spirits of nature, and other little creatures. It’s inspired from nature and from Japan, but also from my love of colors and patterns.”

What’s your favourite animal?

“I love tigers and all the animals in the cat family. They’re both cute and wild!”

What’s the most popular animal that people purchase?

“Mini cats and mini tiger. I guess people like the cat family as much as I do.”

How long have you been making ceramics? Was it difficult to learn at first?

“I have been making ceramics for four years. I’m self-taught, so yes, it was pretty difficult at first. I kept making a lot of mistakes and I didn’t know why everything was going so wrong.

“I’m getting better now, but I still have a lot to learn. I would recommend anyone wanting to learn about ceramics to take some classes. I still do every now and then!”

Where does the name ‘Dodo Toucan’ come from?

“It’s the name of two birds. I chose it because it sounds colorful and naïve, and also because I love toucans.”

Some of your creatures you label as ‘Spirit of the sea’ or ‘Spirit of the wind’ when translated from French – how would you translate ‘Mini Grigri’, if possible?

“A Mini Grigri is a small lucky charm. You can carry it in your pocket to get some extra luck (or happiness or love, depending on the theme of the Mini Grigri).”

Is your style somehow inspired/connected to your own childhood?

“Not exactly, but it’s more like the dreams I would have as a child! My parents are not as much into colors as I am, so as a child, I thought it was very frustrating that our house was all decorated with very dark colors.”

Aside from ceramics, what is your 2nd favourite hobby?

“I love walking in the forest or near the sea, anywhere where I feel close to nature. Paris can be quite busy so it’s good to get some fresh air every now and then.”

Is it hard to stand out as an artist living in Paris? I hear there are a lot of artists there!

“No, on the contrary, I love it! We help each other, talk about our works, and exchange some tips and advice. I think it’s very important to hold tight together. Otherwise, you might feel very lonely and unhappy.

“I’m very lucky because in my neighbourhood there are a lot of artists, and some of them are my friends now.”

If you’d like to buy some of Sara Theron’s work, head over to her online store Dodo Toucan.