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Dorthe Mailil, is a Danish designer and illustrator living and working in Herning, Denmark. She is perhaps best known as the owner and Creative Director behind Maileg, a charming brand of toys that merge modern Scandinavian design with storybook whimsy and meticulous attention to detail.
Dorthe’s passion for design began at a young age, leading her to enroll in the prestigious Danish Design School in 1996 to pursue a career in graphic design. Dorthe also supplemented her education with studies at L’ecole D’art de Marseille and Paris, which she cites as contributing to the inspiration behind many of the sweet and nostalgic details that define the Maileg brand.
As the unlikely outcome of one of Dorthe’s class projects, Dorthe created a distinctive clay character of exaggerated proportions whose spunky personality and charm immediately won the hearts of her entire class. This “pixie” quickly grew into a family of pixies, and Dorthe moved from the medium of clay to felt. Fabric. Following her joy for childhood play and imagination (at all ages!) Dorthe and her husband Erik founded Maileg in 1999 - combining their last name “Mailil” with the “leg”, the Danish word for play.
Since founding Maileg, Dorthe has won many awards and honors for both her toys, as well as for her well-known illustrations that appear around the world in books, magazines and even TV shows. Dorthe continues to provide all creative direction for Maileg, contributing to a growing family that now includes bunnies, mice, forest friends, The Ginger family – all living in a charming world of hand-sewn clothing, modern furniture and playful accessories.
It is unlikely to see Dorthe anywhere without her sketchbook in hand, and she has been known to wake up in the middle of the night with the newest idea for her next Maileg creation. There is no telling where her imagination will take Dorthe, and Maileg next!