All Dolls Are Art 2013 Artist Interview: Joyce Cloutman

I’ve had the privilege of being in the Central Texas Art Doll Sculptors group with Joyce for the last 3 or 4 years.  She is talented, creative, generous and has a wicked sense of humor.  She never fails to make me smile and, what is more, she has gifted me with one of her creations!  Joyce is teaching “Bella Dona”, a mixed media, 2-day class at ADAA 2013.  To see more about her class, visit www.alldollart.com/cloutman.html.

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I asked Joyce to describe her background for you.

Joyce:  As far back as I can remember creating art has been a part of my life. I have no formal training, being mostly self taught. In the 70′s I taught painting for about 12 years and enjoyed it, but felt I was missing something. I discovered polymer clay, like so many others, by watching Carol Duval show. I played with polymer clay many years before I was able to take a class. Learning on your own is important, but taking a class with an experienced teacher can push you years ahead. I really have enjoyed time spent with polymer clay.  I love the versatility of this medium!  I’m a member of 3 polymer clay guilds in Texas (Houston Polymer Clay Guild,  North Texas Polymer Clay Guild and Austin Polymer Clay Guild) and am also a member of Central Texas Art Doll Sculptors.

AnLiNa Designs:  How did you discover doll-making and sculpting?

Joyce:  I picked up Art Doll Magazine for the first time about 5 years ago. It showed how to make an elf, and I thought I would give it a try. That’s when I discovered I had a knack for sculpting and haven’t looked back.  I love sculpting heads and have many containers full of heads of different sizes and shapes.

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One of my first attempts at an art doll:

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AnLiNa Designs:  What media do you like to work with and why?

Joyce: Primarily polymer clay, but lately I’m branching out to other media and enjoying mixing my art supplies to achieve the look I’m after.

AnLiNa Designs:  Have you made the transition to full-time artist?

Joyce:  No, I’m at a point in my life where I have more free time to create than I used to but life does get in the way.

AnLiNa Designs:  Do you sell your work anywhere?

Joyce: No, just started selling a piece here and there. Marketing and selling is such a mystery to me.

AnLiNa Designs:  We’ll have to fix that!  When you start a new project, how do you start?

Joyce:  Sometimes I sketch out an idea.  I try to always keep a journal with me to jot down ideas as they come. It’s fun to go back through old sketch journals and see how many ideas actually worked out. I’m surprised by how many of those sketches I end up creating.

AnLiNa Designs:  Where do you get your inspiration from?

Joyce:  Lately words or quotes seem to spark my imagination.

AnLiNa Designs:  What are your favorite materials to work with?

Joyce:  Polymer clay hands down. Polymer clay can be sculpted into almost any shape and size you want.

AnLiNa Designs:  Who is your favorite artist and why?

Joyce:  Kate Church is my favorite artist right now. I’ve had the privilege of taking a class with her and she is the kind of teacher I hope to be. She doesn’t stay in one place artistically but keeps evolving. Below is a Kate Church inspired art doll.

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AnLiNa Designs:  Is there a famous work of art (visual, performance or musical) that you want to interpret in a doll?

Joyce:  No not really, I enjoy looking at James Christensen and Daniel Merriam.

AnLiNa Designs:  What do you think makes a retreat a valuable experience to participate in, both as a teacher and as a student?

Joyce:   Getting together with other people who enjoy creating is so important!  You learn so much; not only from the teachers but others attending.  Everyone brings some info about something, so if you are having trouble in a creative area, someone attending will have the answer. Below are my latest elves inspired by a clay retreat I attended in October:

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AnLiNa Designs:  Describe a day in your class room and your favorite part of teaching.

Joyce:  First I want everyone to relax and enjoy the process, if it’s not fun why bother. Second I try to build in time for each person to use their creativity to make the project their own. My favorite time is at the end of class when we line up our project, and, even though we have used the same art supplies and followed the same instructions, each piece will be unique to that person.

AnLiNa Designs:  Thanks so much Joyce!

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