Elisa Cucinelli

Elisa Cucinelli wears Unique Pieces

Elisa Cucinelli collaborated with me on the masks of Variations Chamanes, posed for me several times and also made a short stop motion film with one of the pieces of this collection. Elisa Cucinelli is a multimedia artist. You can discover her work on her website.


In the early years of Tata, I made a lot of one-off pieces. One of the challenges was to document them in some way. Because at that time I only sold at markets and not online. But the desire to keep track of the pieces was already important. Today I am happy to be able to see these pieces again. I feel like I am following the thread of my self-taught learning again. For each piece was a source of learning for me.

Elisa Cucinelli for Variations Chamanes

Variations Chamanes is to be understood in the sense of variations on a theme or musical variations. The shaman is a person considered by his tribe or group as an intermediary or intercessor between humans and the spirits of nature.
Variations Chamanes dreams around these dimensions attached to the role of the shaman, “sage, therapist, counsellor, healer and seer”. The shaman is the initiate or repository of the culture, beliefs, practices of shamanism, and a potential form of ‘cultural secret’.

The influence of traditional dress and costume as magical adornments is also very important in my work. The notion of a unique, particular, magical garment.

Variations Chamanes because, as often happens, my inspiration is made up of scattered thoughts, reveries on themes, on readings, or images seen. I don’t pretend to know anything about it. On the other hand the poetic force is the source of my inspiration.

For example this type of Shaman is particularly powerful as a concept. In several cultures, a particular type of shaman exists, the shaman clown or Heyoka. Sometimes assimilated to a sacred clown.

The Heyoka is both a shaman and a kind of jester: a being who speaks, acts and reacts in a way that is opposite to that of ‘normal’ people, dressing lightly when it is cold and vice versa. They are sometimes depicted sitting upside down on their horses.

These sacred clowns are allowed in some cultures to desecrate things considered most sacred. “God’s fools are free “. Their transgressive behaviour and their status as outsiders have led North American anthropologists to refer to them as ‘the contraries’. They are often associated with thunder and not with an animal spirit.

Elisa Cucinelli wears Early Crochet Pieces

Crochet has allowed me to make pieces with a precious and quality finish due to the handwork and the mix of materials. Even if I was chasing wool on flea markets or in places where wool was sold out, the work of composition, of mixing techniques allowed me to have quality renderings while expressing my style. Crochet pieces are still really important part of my work.

Elisa Cucinelli wears T-Shirt Vintage Foulards

From the beginning, I found a great source of inspiration in the reuse of vintage scarves. Upcycling them has always been a source of joy and surprise for me. This is typically for me the essence of the idea of unique pieces as a collector. I have made dozens and dozens of t-shirt scarves. The combination of two scarves offers great poetic and sometimes humorous potential. It’s surreal and it’s like wearing a picture book. A strong connection to the past too with their melancholic and retro charge.

Elisa Cucinelli wears Meli-Melo

What I call Meli-Melo for myself are all those unique pieces that may not make sense from the outside. But for me they have an intense connection to each other. This is the adventure of the unique pieces. A real Arianne’s thread.
They are also the pieces that teach me the next pieces. A dress teaches me the next volume of a jacket. A crochet detail teaches me a new sleeve shape, and so on.

Elisa Cucinelli – Gaia

During her study, she made a beautiful short stop motion film with one of the pieces of this collection.

Elisa Cucinelli

Photography: Tata Christiane & Hanrigabriel
Model(s): Elisa Cucinelli
Location: Berlin
Year: 2010