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Your Company Name: Tiara Designs
Email Address/Web Page: msterri@one-eleve.net
City & State: Cerro Gordo, IL
Type of Craft: DOLLS!

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

In the early 80's I started using Super Sculpy to create all master sculptures before I took them to a mold. I then made molds and used a direct sculpting technique to create one of a kind porcelain dolls. I now exclusively work in polyform clays. The toxic dust just drove me away from porcelain. Now I think polyform clays are so much more respected. There were just too many porcelain dolls mass produced. So, to prove the work is original I work only in polyform! Plus it is an easier media but still always challanges me.

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

Fawn Zellar, because she was the most sharing, kind doll artist in the world. She would hand write letters and talk to me on the phone for hours- helping! We were all influenced I think by Bob McKinley who was also very sharing and one of the first I think to really put emotion in his work and bring doll characters to life. He did not get in the Louve without being one of the best and earned it. He always had time for you. I loved Van Craig and his showgirls! I think Lisa Litchefels is the best- she worked in polyform for awhile but now works in cloth. I feel she has improved the most and has taken fabric art to the highest level. In positioning anatomy and form!

What is your specialty?

THE LADY DOLL! I choose after a few years to make pretty ladies for many reasons. First it is what I love. Fawn told me she had regrets as an elderly woman that she had not just concentrated on what she loved, which was babies and pretty ladies. So I stuck to her advice and concentrated on the ladies. I love the costuming. While I have concentrated much on anatomy and nudes in the last 2 years- I love making the clothing. Don't get me wrong. I may just make something else if I the mood strikes. but, it is and always has been the beautiful lady doll for me! I do try to say something beyond that at times, I research a great deal whatever it is I am doing. However I stick to what I love and am good at!

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

It is clean! I can wash my hands and go about my business easily with it. I can bake it in my oven -regular or toaster. I can start a sculpture and let it sit for long periods of time. Gosh. The reasons are endless!

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

No books but I have published articles for doll making magazines. Use to write in the 80's. I would like to write one someday before I die. I really love sharing and helping. If anyone asks anything I tell what I know. I have found the more you share the more you are blessed with new ideas and talent. My problem now is I have studied so much I think I would find it difficult to put it in one book! LOL

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

In the early days I entered many competitions and won many awards. Now I never compete. I have been on ABC news. featured by the associated press several times. Have been in main stream collectable magazines. Featured in doll magazines numerous times, once took a cover. Also I have shown and sold work in many main stream art galleries. I always consider those my best accomplishments. I figure anything we can do to get dolls appreciated as art for all doll artists is a great accomplishment.

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

My life time goal is to get a doll I designed to the children. To me to be a doll maker and have no children enjoy your work is sad! I use to be a snob and all artsy about it. I still concentrate on one of a kind dolls. For them I think my goal is to continue to pave the way in any way I can in doll artistry- perhaps inspire new artists and in the end hope I have made something that gives the world joy!

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

Never quit your day job! Over the years I have seen many come and go. Fame is fleeting and few make money at art. If you ever make money save it! Trends come and go- fashions fade and style remains. Never let your creations interfer with enjoying your life, family and the things that are important! One never masters anything if you did you would be bored. Do it because you love it. Compete for your personal best!

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

No, never had the time or money to travel enough to get involved. I am just now reaching the point the kids are grown. With the internet it opens a whole new world of having the time and resourses to do these things. If there is anyone who has one that thinks they may need me, just ask. I love to share knowledge and am always open to new friends!

What brands of polymer clay do you prefer and why?

My main stay has always been super sculpy. Right now I am mixing in some prosculpt. Sculpy is a bit dry and I am finding if I mix them equal I am getting a bit more control, the prosculpt is a bit more rubbery. I just ordered some bisque fimo to play with. Over the years I have tried about every clay on earth.
I would really love to network with some artists whom have samples of polyform clay over 20 years old. I have some concerns if it will hold up hundreds of years. Many say you can not use oil paint but I do- it is in the media you use that makes that work! I find a good seal of paint is helping my older sculptures last. Frankly I am a bit paranoid that they will last. I have had a few older ones crumble. I think only time will tell. One has to consider that something like porcelain has proved itself with samples lasting thousands of years. I think only time will prove if poly clays will last. One of my biggest goals is to ensure I can find out as much as I can to make sure they last.

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

Me, I am just a doll maker with 3 children suffering from empty nest. I make dolls because I love it. My training is constant. I started by reading every book I could on sculpture, dollmaking the history of costume. I study something every day. If it is just watching noses on TV. If I had 3 life times it would not be enough time to learn what I need to know. I consider knowledge power. I read everything I can find online these days. Wow -people just do not realize how blessed we are now to have all these sourses and free information at our fingertips! If you would like to see my work go to my image event.

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