Moscow-based artist Nastasya Shuljak has grown up in nature, enjoying the natural world around her. Now, she's creating miniature wool sculptures of small animals and other cute creatures, and her rich childhood is really visible in her works. Plants sprout from the heads of natural spirits. Polar bears, foxes, and other critters look as if they've just stepped out of a magical wonderland... Shuljak's 42.5K followers as well as her clients can't get enough of her adorable toys, and it's easy to understand why. It's impossible not to smile when you're meeting them.
More info: Instagram
Shuljak's transformation into a full-time toy designer began when she was still a theater artist and art teacher. "About 10 years ago, just before New Year's, I received an unexpected gift from my friends -- a pack of wool," Nastasya told Bored Panda. "I made a bear and a rabbit from it. Immediately, I fell in love with wool for its flexibility and the endless possibilities you can achieve with it."
"I also saw little sparks in my client's eyes after they bought the toys; a child's happiness in an adult man holding in his hands what I created. It still touches and surprises me. Working with wool has been a huge part of my life for the past ten years. I think it's not a coincidence."
Shuljak doesn't want to exhibit her creatures in a gallery. Or even to consider them as art. "They're just little lumps of joy," she said. "Carefree temporary smiles. I try to keep them as minimal as possible, strip away all the unnecessary details."
However, elements of the natural world find their way into Nastasya's pieces without her giving much thought to it. They're in her blood. "It's not a cheap attempt to be trendy. I've lived in nature for a very long time. I've spent my childhood in a small town near the sea, and my parents and I used to go to the forests a lot."
Currently, Nastasya lives in Moscow, Russia. And when she's not busy selling her toys on Instagram, the artist also teaches classes on how to create them.