Name: Maria Elena Cianfanelli

Location: Ariccia, Roma, Italia

Day job: Teaching, outreach

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How did you get started making?

The idea came while looking for funds for charity (I help people and animals in need). I make lamps with different recycled materials. The first moon I made was built on a request from a girl that – even in a non florid economic condition – decided to emancipate and go live by herself: she told me that she had a strong connection with the moon, and seeing the satellite in the middle of her ceiling would’ve helped her find strength in her choice to embrace happiness and femininity. I am not a painter, so I was a little intimidated, but her words were so important and beautiful that I could not say no!

What type of maker would you classify yourself as?

I have always liked to create: when I was a very little girl, I went around trying to steal my father’s tools and use them on wood, paper and metal. I like to make with all types of material and I especially love to give new life to things people consider useless or broken…so maybe a transformation maker?

What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?

As to the lamps, I think Saturn is my best score, because I could use Cassini’s images while the mission was still running (and it launched when I started studying Physics at university) In general, I would say a turning wooden Christmas tree that spins when someone blows on it and contains small reproductions of my family members (humans and otherwise).

What’s something you’d like to make next?

My next lamp will probably be Earth at night: Earth during the day (that I already paint) takes me about a week of work and I would like to make a night version too, using the numerous photos that ISS astronauts keep sending us.

As to the other projects, I am starting to think about a way to naturally paint dried plants and build fantasy landscapes, but I am still experimenting for the moment.

Any advice for people reading this?

Please trust yourself. Trust your inspiration, your pleasure and your fun. Please follow the subtle sweet voice inside that says who you truly are and sing it loud: magic will happen!