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ANNE-MARIE BROMBAL

Your Company Name: Annie Bee Artworks
Email Address/Web Page: anniebee@ozemail.com.au
City & State: Austinmer, New South Wales
Type of Craft: Dolls and related items such as bases and accessories, jewelry.

Tell us in your own words, how you discovered polymer clay and how long have you been using it?

I have been working with polymer clay since the late 70's. I discovered Fimo in a craft shop and attempted to make jewellery. With practice, it actually became wearable! I was hooked and friends started asking me for earrings, name tags and brooches. I continued to make jewellery, moved on to Christmas ornaments and then made a few small characters. After moving to Australia in 1993, I became interested in porcelain dolls, took a course and then discovered that there was a polymer clay made especially for doll-making, and some wonderful artists doing some incredible work. So I bought some Modelene (the Australian equivalent of Cernit) and made my first doll with the help of a terrific polymer clay doll artist in Sydney named Carol Chapman. That first doll, "Lisette" won the Australian Doll of the Year (1995) in polymer clay. I am now hooked for life!

Are there any special artists that you can attribute your interest to or that have inspired you?

Carol Chapman, Jack Johnston, Rottraut Schrott, June Goodnow

What is your specialty?

One-of-a-kind artist dolls, incorporating fine detail floral work.

Can you tell us why you find polymer clay the expressive medium for you?

It allows me to incorporate the detail that other mediums won't allow. It has a warmth to it that other mediums don't have when it comes to doll-making.

Have you published any polymer clay books or do you have any in the works?

No, but I have done workshops and seminars in polymer clay techniques for doll-making, and several small written projects are in the works.

I know it is very difficult to express, but have you won any awards for your polymer clay work?

I have participated in a number of Australian doll shows, won blue ribbons, "Best of Section" awards and trophies, all for polymer clay dolls. In 1996, I won the Australian Doll of the Year, sponsored by Australia's Doll Digest magazine, for "Lisette", a 34-inch Victorian girl on a custom polymer clay "garden path" base. In March, Lisette was taken to the studios of "Contemporary Doll Collector", and may appear in their "Gallery" section later this year.

What are your expectations for the future? Where do you hope to be 5 years from now?

I hope that my sculpting improves, as I continue to learn from other artists and through experimentation and perseverance. I hope to meet some of the other doll artists who work in polymer clay around the world. In five years, I would like to be able to say that I'm still having more fun making dolls than I ever did working in a 9 to 5 job. Of course, a little money would be nice too....it would be nice to see some of my kids go to homes where they would be loved as much as I love making them.

Do you have any advice for the beginning polymer clay enthusiasts?

Don't ever convince yourself that you don't have the talent for it. As long as you have patience, you can create the most amazing things! It, like life, is a continuous learning experience. Also, remember to keep your hands clean! Oh, one more thing....don't forget to turn the oven off!

Are you a member of any Polymer Clay group,or any other craft organization?

I am a member of the NODAAA (National Original Doll Artist Association of Australia) and have recently applied for membership in the Professional Doll Makers Guild. I am unaware of any polymer clay guilds in this area of Australia.

What brands of polymer clay do you prefer and why?

I am limited here in Australia, but I have used Modelene, Cernit, Super Sculpey and Fimo. I like Cernit for it's translucency, Super Sculpey for it's ease of use and Fimo for it's strength. I generally mix brands based on what I am doing and what is available. I also mix both the Doll-makers version of polymer clay with the coloured, more recognised versions for additions and embellishments such as flowers and leaves.

Last and most important can you tell us all about you? Your family, your training?

I am married with three wonderful and lively kids. I live in Australia but am actually Canadian, having moved here when my husband was transferred within his company. I have no formal art training other than a fantastic start in high school with an inspirational art teacher, Gord Zimmerman, who taught me that once I had control over my medium, I could achieve anything. He taught me the basics of artistic pursuit and I finally have the chance to say thank you! My "real" training is in the medical and dental field. I am a radiographer (X-ray technologist) as well as a Prosthetist (Denturist), with twenty plus years of experience in both fields. I have always loved doing what my husband terms "fiddly" things....the smaller and more detailed, the better. I paint in watercolours and design and sew clothing. I love anything "sparkly". In doll-making, I can combine all of the things that I love to do best. My kids think I'm the best thing since sliced bread. Who else has! a mother who steps into a department store and drags THEM to the toy department??!

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