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Robert Houghtaling
Sculptor / Designer

When you really love your work, 30 plus years goes by very quickly without seeming like a long time. Having done and taught most phases of sculpture and jewelry making, I still find time to occasionally talk to students about the importance of art and the real possibilities of their making a living with their art.

Collectibles are the largest part of my business. I sculpt the masters for many companies and/or their licensees. My clients include Disney and Warner Bros. and their licensees, The Hamilton Collection and The Bradford exchange . Besides the animation characters I do realistic human and animal sculpts as well as technical pieces such as the Borg ship from Star Trek. My work includes full round figures, relief sculpts for plates, mugs etc. and most any kind of three dimensional work. Although I am well versed in all sculpture techniques and reproduction methods, I prefer to work in polymer clay for my originals. Presently most of my work is done in Super Sculpey, usually leached out to make it firmer. I also combine it with Promat or some other polyclay to provide the feel I need for whatever part of a sculpt I am working on.

I am currently completing the masters for the premier offering of my own line of collectibles. I am also busy designing and sculpting a line of collectibles based on the Lone Ranger for a Florida company. It's great fun and I got to meet The Lone Ranger, quite a thrill for a kid who never grew up.

I live in an "A" frame in the mountains north of Santa Barbara CA. with my wonderful wife and helpmate Denise. We overlook the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley from an elevation of 3300 feet where we get a little dusting of snow a couple of times a year. We are 30 minutes from the nearest village and the ranch is surrounded by National Forest. I keep in touch with friends and customers with my computer. I can take pictures of my work as it develops with a video camera connected to my computer then email the pics to my customer and confer with them in real time as to how the work is progressing. My studio is a glassed in deck with a view that sometimes makes it hard to concentrate but is always inspiring. Wildlife is abundant, with mountain lions and bears, no tigers though. I once had a bear try to come in the screen door while I was working.

Robert Houghtaling

Text and Photos ©1999 Robert Houghtaling

Click here to see a wonderful cross section of Robert's polymer clay work, along with his commentary!

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