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MELANIE WYNNE

Your Company Name: It Figures
Email Address/Web Page: figure@aol.com
   http://www.itfiguresonline.com
City & State: Santa Monica, California
Type of Craft: Custom Figures

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

I discovered polymer clay at the age of eight, and I'm now 27; that's 21 years!

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

I was always a fan of Ray Harryhausen, the special effects artist, Nick Park (Wallace and Gromit) and Will Vinton (California Raisins) have been very inspirational, and figures artist like Maureen Carlson are heroes. However, the more doll artists I discover (the Web is great for that!), the more excited I get about the medium. My fellow Polymer Clay Guild members out here in Los Angeles are lately inspiring me to play with canes and do non-figurative projects for the first time since I was a child.

What is your specialty?

Through my self-owned business, It Figures, I create handmade, one-of-a-kind figures and cake toppers of people, animals -- anything, really -- based on client's personal photos. One niche of my business is personalized cake toppers for weddings and other events, but at the moment I'm working on a quote to sculpt the Queen Mary (docked in Long Beach, CA)! Figures are anywhere from 3-12" high, and are designed to last a lifetime.

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

Super Sculpey's texture is so much like skin! I know that must sound bizarre, but it's a very tactile experience for me. When I step back from a figure, it makes me smile that something that starts out as a square or a rectangle can allow so much detail.

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

No.

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

When I was 11, I participated in a juried show in my hometown of Washington, D.C., and became the youngest member of the Washington Women's Art Center. Craft shows are a few years down the line in the It Figures Business Plan!

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

I hope to be a household name in the gifts industry, famous for my pets and cake toppers -- a "sculptor to the stars," charging what my work is worth! I will hopefully feel ready to join NIADA and participate in a show, making a few figures/dolls just for my own pleasure, without a client in mind. A feature story in People Magazine wouldn't hurt, but I'm working on that for 1999 at this point!

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

Start to make things without reading books first. You'll be amazed at all the stuff you'll come up with just based on creativity and common sense. It's such a versatile medium, you'll be surprised by the things that come out of your own consciousness where it's concerned -- individuality first, instruction later!

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

I plan to join the National Guild this year -- it is after all, based in my hometown! At present, I attend monthly meetings here in Santa Monica with a really supportive collection of folks. The meetings are the second Wednesday of every month, at 6:30 pm, at Wild Fiber on 14th and Broadway in Santa Monica, CA.

What brands of polymer clay do you prefer and why?

Sculpey and Promat, for strength and versatility.

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

My family is incredibly supportive of me, my training and background are in film, animation, drawing and painting -- but almost no sculpture. I'd say I've had about 7 actual classes -- and have a lot to learn. But I hope to learn more by doing some licensing sculpture, like the toys you get at fast food restaurants and in national film campaigns. That way I get paid to learn while making TOYS! Keep sculpting, and always keep searching for new ideas -- the polymer clay community, as we know, is wide open and friendly...not to mention gorgeous.

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