This week, I would like to introduce you to the lovely Michelle Adkins, the woman behind CreativeCritters.
Let´s know a bit more about her.
When did you start crafting? What was your motivation?
I started crafting at a very young age- creativity is in my blood. In school I took every art class available and discovered a real love of sculpture. I didn't discover polymer clay until my 20's. This allowed me to sculpt at home and bake my pieces in my home oven, rather than needing a kiln. Since I discovered polymer clay I've been collecting every instructional book I can get my hands on. For the most part I'm self taught. I started making dolls about 3 or 4 years ago when my best friend asked me to make a Waldorf doll for her son. I've since created my own patterns and designs for the dolls I make. The same friend taught me how to knit a few years ago, and I've learned how to create my own patterns for my stuffed animals. My motivation for crafting and creating is the absolute NEED to make things and express myself through my art. If I'm not creating something, I'm simply not fulfilled.
Which one of your designs makes you feel prouder of yourself?
I'm very proud of my fantasy sculptures. With some (like Scorch the Rockin' Dragon) I actually spend MONTHS to complete the project. I love the world of fantasy, and the ability to create anything my mind can imagine. I'm also pretty proud of my plush World of Warcraft characters, especially the Hunters. I created these patterns through trial and error and much research. They're sewn by hand and I really enjoy making the hunter's pets (I still like stuffed animals!). I put a lot of effort into my creations and I hope than my customers get as much pleasure from them as I do.
What kind of things inspire you?
Just about anything can serve as inspiration for me. I love fantasy and find a lot of inspiration in books, movies, and fantasy artwork. I also love nature and animals. My miniature houses show off my love of flowers and plants. My ArtFire Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild is also a great source of inspiration. They have monthly Challenges that offer me the opportunity to try new things in polymer clay. As an artist, my overactive imagination is a very useful tool!
Do you have any favorite book, movie, comic, etc? Which one and why is it your favorite?
As far as a favorite book, I really don't have just one. My favorite genre would be Fantasy. My favorite movie is probably My Neighbor Totoro by Hayou Miyazaki. I've seen it a million times and it still makes me smile.
If you could choose any fictional character (from books, movies, comics, etc), which one would you like to be? Why?
I'm not sure which fictional character I might be. I like vampire books and movies, and I like strong, sexy female vampires, as well as the female warriors in my fantasy stories. I think I just like the idea of the strong female, and if you add in magical abilities, or super strength, that just makes it better. And intelligence, as well. I'd want to be strong, smart, sexy, immortal, and magical. How's that for wanting it all?
Do you have any mania or obsession?
Art is probably my obsession, followed very closely by animals. I'm always creating something, and I've got tons of ideas for new projects running around my brain. I've actually had to stop myself from trying any more new art forms, because I just don't have the space or money for materials for yet another art form. As it is I sew, sculpt, make jewelry, knit, make stuffed animals, and combine many of those techniques in single pieces I create. And I adore animals. Right now I have 2 cats, but I have had ferrets, dogs, snakes, turtles, fish, birds, hamsters, mice, and rabbits. The only time I've been without a pet was in college, and I went through serious critter withdrawal!
Is there a place you´ve visited that left a big impression in you? If so, why?
The Lakehouse I lived in as a teenager left a huge impression on me. We moved there when I was 13 and it was just perfect. The house was a 100 year old farmhouse situated right on Lake Berlin. I had the lake to swim in, fields to play sports in, and woods to explore to my heart's content. In the winter my brothers, the dogs, and I would walk across the frozen lake and explore the far shore. I taught myself how to swim in that lake, and began to discover who I was while walking along the beaches and through the woods. Some of my best memories are of that house and the surrounding woods and lake. I nursed orphaned baby robins back to health, and watched baby catfish grow into adults there. It was the perfect place for a nature lover like myself to grow up.
Would you like to share any advice with your fellow artists?
My advice to fellow artists would be to keep at it and don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Generally we're our own biggest critics. While we may see all kinds of imperfections in our work, others may just love it. Do the best you can, put it out there, promote it, and see what happens. I've been pleasantly surprised since I started selling my work. My success has inspired me to try even harder, and make more complex and challenging pieces. Promotion is a huge part of internet success though. The internet is a HUGE place, and you have to work really hard to get noticed.
Where can people find you?
I can be found at CreativeCritters.artfire.com, CreativeCrittersblog.blogspot.com, Facebook, JoAnn.com, MySpace, ByHand.me, Flickr, and the Artfire Smooshers Guild.
Thank you very much Michelle! It has been a pleasure!
Don´t forget to visit her lovely shop!