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DOROTHY "DOTTY" McMILLAN

Your Company Name: Simply Ridiculous Designs
Email Address/Web Page: vbcm28a@prodigy.com
City & State: Orange, California
Type of Craft: Polymer Clay

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

My three kids just HAD to have package of the new clay so we brought home a bunch of them, and guess what? Mom used more of it than the kids. But it wasn't until Nan Roch's book, The New Clay, came out, that I realized just how much could be done with the clay.

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

Oh, my, yes! Z Krepe was my first teacher. I went to her after years of just doing my own thing. She brought some structure into my work. Sarajane Helm helped me loosen up. She works fast and furious, which I do also, and seeing her do it that way I realized it was okay. Until then, I'd felt guilty about working so quickly. Tory Hughes tapes opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me. There are so many others that have helped me, that I can't possibly mention them all.

What is your specialty?

I do mostly jewelry, using all sorts of techniques. Caning is only a small portion of them. I love to do photo transfers, use mica powders, do multi media pieces, and just experiment like crazy with all sorts of things. My basket of discards is so large and heavy can't lift it. And, I've let people help themselves to whatever they want from it, which has emptied it about four times, but I aways fill it up again.

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

I used to weave, spin, and machine knit which I loved doing. I was fooling withthe clay, but seriously. I made buttons and jewelry to match the items I was making. Friends asked me to make some for them. This got WAY out of hand and before I knew it, I had stopped everything but the clay. I think the best thing about it is that the creative possibilities are endless. I think I had come to a dry spot with my fibre arts.

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

No, not yet. But I do have one I'm discussing with my agent. I ave done a lot of articles for Jewelry Crafts Magazine however.

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

Well, yes, but only locally. I was one of the ten winners in the Internation Polymer Clay Bead Competition at the Shepherdess in San Diego. Also received prizes at our county fair and the Seniors Fair. Plus a few others.

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

Since I'm 65 now, I'll be happy to just BE here, and able to work with the clay. I would love to be able to narrow my work down to things that I proud of. Not doing so much experimenting. But that's unlikely to happen.

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

By all means, jump in and enjoy! You won't find any other craft with so many possibilities. Read everything you can on the subject. Scrutinize photos of other people's work. Take tons of classes. Take chances and try doing everything possible with the clay. Don't start doing just one thing, and get stuck there. Be bold!

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

The National Polymer Clay Guild, and am also a founding member of the Orange County Polymer Clay Guild, and an honorary member of the San Diego, California guild. Our Orange County guild meets on the last Monday of every month at 7 pm at Piecemakers in Costa Mesa.

What brands of polymer clay do you prefer and why?

I've used them all, and like each of them for different reasons. Most of the time, however, I use Clay Factory Clay and feel it is the best of them all for my purposes.

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

I've been married to the same guy for 45 years, have three grown kids,two girls an a guy, have nine grandkids, and three great-grandkids. I spent the first 20 years of my life on stage, doing radio and early TV. I dreamed of becoming a writer. You know, like that nice lady in the TV seris "Murder She Wrote." I finally made it, and have published four suspense thriller novels. But I get far more satisfaction out of working with the clay than anyhing else I've experienced. Clay people are so sharing and caring that it's a thrill to work with all of them.

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