This week's featured artist is another talented artist with clay. Michelle, of Creative Critters, creates these amazingly-detailed, small scale sculptures out of polymer clay.
What does it mean to you to "buy handmade"?
Buying handmade means purchasing something an individual created with their own hands, versus a mass produced item manufactured by a large corporation. When an individual makes something there is more pride involved, generally speaking. I certainly prefer to buy from fellow artisans whenever possible. So far I've never been disappointed with the products I've received.
How long have you been active in your craft?
Since I was old enough to sculpt Play-Doh! I really got serious about sculpting around the age of 22 or 23. I began buying all the how-to books I could find, and tried to learn as much as possible about the art. I keep some of my early projects around to remind myself just how far I've come over the last 10 years or so, as well as to remind myself that there are no limits to what I can achieve creatively. I began sewing my cloth dolls around the age of 29 or 30, after my friend gave me a "Make Your Own Waldorf Doll" kit. I don't use the name "Waldorf" on my dolls though, because I've created my own patterns and just used that original kit as a learning tool. As for the knitted animals, my friend taught me how to knit about 3 years ago. I've always loved stuffed animals, so when I found books with patterns for knitted stuffed toys, I was off and running! Of course, I've also adapted all those patterns and come up with completely new ones as my skills have progressed.
What inspires your work?
Fantasy, for one thing. If you look in my shop you'll find lots of fantasy sculptures, as well as my line of plush World of Warcraft characters. I also find a lot if inspiration in the natural world. I love plants, animals, and all sorts of wild places. I can find inspiration in just about anything, really. My imagination is a fertile playground, with new ideas sprouting up all the time!
Where do you sell your creations?
I sell my work at http://creativecritters.artfire.com, and I have a blog at http://creativecrittersblog.blogspot.com where I sometimes add more information about items for sale, projects I'm currently working on, and a variety of other topics.
Have you received any special accolades in your field?
Several of my pieces have been featured in Polymer Cafe Magazine including Scorch the Rockin' Dragon (Feb. 09) and my Miniature Log Cabin sculpture (Oct. 08). One of my handsewn cloth dolls was featured in Creative Home Arts magazine as well.