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DOREEN SMITH

Your Company Name: Woodland Sprites Fantasy Sculptures
Email Address/Web Page: greganddoreen@bigplanet.com
    www.myplanet.com/greganddoreen/
City & State: Palm Harbor, FL
Type of Craft: Doll art

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

I'd been sculpting for years in white clay. When I moved from NY to FL I met a woman who told me that a jewelry company that made jewelry from clay was hiring. When I went to the company for an interview I found out it wasn't regular clay they used but Fimo. I fell in love!

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

I love the works of Alphonsa Mucha, Arthur Rackham and Waterhouse's paintings knock me out. I'm in love with Art Nouveau and the artists of that time period.(1890-1910) For me, the artists of that time really duplicated the essence of what it is like to be a woman. The beauty, the dignity,intelligence, grace and aesthetics of being female. I look at a painting from that era and I can tell that the woman in the painting has a perfection that every woman I know of strives for and on a good day, realizes.

What is your specialty?

My speciality is fantasy. I love it because I can create,create,create! With fantasy there are no rules. I can make a sculpture with huge pointy ears or gold eyes, or give a creature scales of purple and blues. I can do whatever I think is most beautiful and interesting and there are no barriers. No ones says," a pixie doesn't have purple eyes"!

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

I love 3 dimentional art. I can sit for hours and sculpt and am always thrilled when an image I have in my mind comes to life and I did it! Polymer is so unlimited compared to regular clay. The colors are instant and almost infinite. When I make a body the skin comes out so life like. You can't get that with regular clay. Also I can work smaller, some of my fairies are only 51/2 inches from head to toe. I can work that small and not have to sacrifice the detail in a piece.

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

No books.

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

Most of my sculptures are sold in small art galleries and boutique/gift shops in the Tampa Bay area. This year my work was at the Sterling Renaissance Festival in New York.

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

I plan to continue to sculpt and to grow as an artist. I love my on-line galleries and shop and I plan to expand that. Building a web site is a lot of fun and it's a great way to sell to people I could otherwise not reach. I plan on doing more extravagant projects. I've got four in my mind right now that I'm doing research on at the moment.

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

I get a lot of letters from people who want to be good artists asking me how I got where I am with the clay. I always answer them. They always want to know what tools I use, what type of oven, stuff like that. I tell them if you want to improve as an artist you must do a lot of sculpting. Make a sculpture then make 20 more and 20 more, etc. Sculpting is like anything else in life, it takes practice. You wouldn't expect to sit down at a piano , take 3 lessons and play like Oscar Peterson, well it's the same with art. If you feel like there is an artist in you then there probably is! Now it takes practice to bring that artist to the surface.

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

I am a member of the National Polymer Clay Guild.

What brands of polymer clay do you prefer and why?

I love Fimo. It simply holds it's shape better so is easier to work with. Cernit is too mushy. I try to sculpt with it and the heat from my hands moves and bends the clay. Sculpty I find breaks too easily after it's been cooked. Fimo is much stronger.

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

I have been married to my very best friend for 19 years. I have a 10 year old Westie that is a delightful little clown. Anyone who owns a terrier knows what I'm talking about! I worked for several years as a tutor in a private school and had the pleasure of working with children from 5 to 18 years old. I plan on going back to tutoring as I just loved it. I have never taken any formal courses or training in clay, it just seemed to be in my blood and as soon as I started working with it I knew how and where to go. I do quite a bit of looking at things. I found that if I could duplicate how something really looked I could sculpt it. I find that touching the object you are trying to sculpt in order to duplicate the form really helps too. Every time I sculpt a new face I find myself touching my own face for guidance. When I am able to duplicate the form exactly in my mind"s eye then I can make it.

See Doreen's Featured Artist Page Right Here!

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