When and how did you first become interested in crafting?
I think I've been a crafter all my life, starting with sculpting Play Doh as a little girl. Gramma used to sew clothes and make stuffed animals for me, and my mother has always been very creative as well, so I'm sure I got a lot of creativity from both of them. They both always encouraged and nurtured my creativity and imagination.
How long have you been creating your chosen craft?
I've been sculpting in clay since I was about 12, starting with ceramics classes in school. I discovered polymer clay about 15 years ago, and that really opened the door to many more possibilities. Polymer clay can be baked at low temperatures in a home oven, so there was no need for an expensive kiln. I started making hand sewn cloth dolls about 5 years ago when I received a doll making kit for Christmas. I enjoyed it so much I got several more doll making books and even learned how to make my own patterns. My best friend taught me how to knit 3 or 4 years ago and since then I've been knitting stuffed animals and catnip toys. I started making jewelry several years ago as gifts, and eventually started selling my jewelry online as well.
When it comes to sculpting I have many influences, including Maureen Carlson, Katherine Dewey, Boris and Dinko Tilov, and Christi Friesen. I've learned a lot from these artists, and enjoy the fun and whimsy they bring to their work. I'm also influenced by my fellow artists all the time, even those that don't work in the same mediums. I can see a beautiful painting and be inspired to create a sculpture based on it. I read a lot of fantasy books, and those influence a lot of my work as well. As I'm reading these magical stories I can see the characters and environments in my mind's eye, and later create them in one form or another.
Does anyone in your family do a similar craft?
I'm lucky to have come from a creative family who has always supported me. My grandmother taught me how to sew and crochet as a little girl. She often made clothes, dolls, and stuffed animals for me. My mother made all sorts of toys, shelves, and home decor in wood, as well as making wonderful pewter pieces.
What kinds of places have you displayed your craft in your life?
Of course my work is displayed in my home (and I've sold quite a bit of to friends and family after they've seen it displayed). I've also sold my work in a consignment shop in New York, as well as another online Handmade site. Right now I sell my work exclusively at http://creativecritters.artfire.com./
When I'm not sculpting or making stuffed toys, jewelry, or dolls, I enjoy gardening, hiking, exercising, reading, and playing with my cats. I also enjoy writing and blog regularly about topics such as cooking, pets, gardening, arts and crafts, and How Too’s. I enjoy being active and I'm always doing something.
What is your favorite piece that you have created so far? Why did you make that piece?
Picking a favorite piece isn't easy, as I love everything I make. My favorite piece right now would probably be my Miniature Flower Garden Sculpture, which was sculpted in honor of Gramma, who passed away in May 2010. This piece features all of her favorite flowers, and is incredibly detailed. It took weeks to create this sculpture, and I spent a lot of time outside studying these flowers so I could capture all their features in clay. I also had to figure out how to create these detailed flowers on such a small scale- no easy task!
What is special about your pieces?
My work is unique and varied, most are one of a kind creations, and all are created by hand. Many of my dolls and stuffed animals, and all of my plush World of Warcraft characters were created with my own original patterns. I like my work to make people happy, and much if it has a sense of whimsy and fun. And I love tiny details, which can easily be seen in many of my sculptures, especially my miniature houses. I love what I do, and I hope that passion comes through in my work.
What makes this kind of craft "good" to you?
Sculpting is probably my number one craft, and it has always seemed so "right" to me. Creating wonderful creatures, jewelry, and scenes in clay gives me such a sense of joy and accomplishment. Give me a lump of clay, a few tools, and some embellishments just for fun, and I feel as though I could create anything! Knitting and sewing are very calming crafts and I find it quite relaxing to sit in my rocking chair in the evening and knit and sew cute dolls, stuffed animals, and catnip toys. I'm the kind of person that NEEDS to create, it's just who I am. ;-)
You can also find Creative Critters online at the following locations: