Today's member spotlight is Cinnamon Venus Willis, from the Bronx, NY.
What kind of Art Dolls do you create?I create dolls that are made out of air-dry clay. The majority of them are in the 15"- 24" range, but I do have a few that are smaller. I call them Melandollys because they all have a bit of sadness in their faces with exception of a small few.
What is your primary medium?My primary medium is air dry paper clay. I have been playing around with making Paper-mâché and soft bodied dolls, but I always go back to paper clay.
For about 3 years.
How long have you been a doll maker?
Where did you learn to make dolls?I did a bunch of research on youtube and then looked for doll makers on facebook to ask them questions.
Share a little about your first doll.My first doll that I've ever made was created with Sculpey polymer clay. I made quite a few different figures and shapes with the clay and then she emerged from it all. I used heavy wires for the joints and I hot glued the hair on. It was very crude, I later had to re-attach the hair. The paint I was using at that time had a bad chemical reaction with the clay I was using, so I ended up with a sticky doll. She's a bit gummy to the touch and her clothes stick to her. I've learned quite a few things from making this doll, she was my test baby :)
How has your practice changed over time?I changed the clay that I was using. I started out with polymer but moved to paper clay because of it being so light weight and easy to repair when needed. I had a doll break in a gallery and I was able to repair it without hesitation. I've also started sketching out my ideas first before jumping into a doll . Previously, I would start making them without any direction and they would all end up looking the same.
Do you have a favorite doll that you have made?My favorite doll that I've created has to be my Homage to Frida Kahlo. I am a big fan of her work and I've always wanted to make something come to life from her paintings. I kept the deer incomplete for a while without the arrows. It wasn't until I was scheduled for a group show that I added them on. It took the doll to a completely different level and I'm glad that I got that push.
What is the most difficult aspect in your process, and how you manage it?I would say costuming is the most difficult part for me. Sometimes I have an idea of what I want to put on them while other times I don't. When I don't have an idea of what to do, I can't seem to narrow down my fabric choices. I want to use them all. Now I try to sketch out every aspect of a doll before creating it. This way I don't have to try and figure something out as I go.
What research do you do before you create?I only research when I have a particular idea that I'd like to execute and don't know where to start. I'll then look for the answer on google or find a video on youtube. When I am creating a doll, I like to find some kind of cheesy horror movie on netflix from the 80's and earlier to watch. I don't necessarily get ideas from them but they do comfort me, I guess that can be considered research too.
Where can our fans find you on line?http://melandolly.com