Move over Octo-Mom. Doll artist Patty Clark is a mother many, many more times over - and she couldn't be happier.
Patty's babies may not technically be real, but anyone catching a glimpse of her original miniature doll sculpts can't resist the urge to reach out and cuddle one.
Patty has been sculpting her one-inch scale dollhouse babies and toddlers for almost five years now. She's made at least a few hundred dolls already and hopes to keep producing even more babies for years to come.
"Sculpting a baby and then dressing them is a thrill," she says. "I still love everything about it! It is so much fun to have the finished baby in my hand and seeing a tiny little face looking back at me."
Children of the Heart
Who can resist any of these chubby-cheeked little wonders? (Pictured: Baby Elodie)
The dolls come in standard dollhouse size (1 inch = 1 foot) and are hand-sculpted of polymer clay. They sell for around $265 and up.
She also sells occasionally on eBay under the name czechrosette or on her website, Patty-Clark.com.
Patty has since progressed to adding cute little toddlers to her line (1 3/4" to 2 3/4" tall) and has achieved artisan status with the International Guild of Miniature Artisans (IGMA).
For her, the best part is coming up with new ideas. She loves sculpting and continually works at improving her skills.
"There are still some challenges and still so much to learn with this art medium," Patty says. "I discovered over the last year that I am having so much success with 'series' baking. I always start with the head first when I am starting a new sculpt. I spend up to two hours on that alone.
"After the first bake I will add a touch more clay to the cheeks, bridge of the nose, and then build the forehead up. It is amazing to see the transformation after the second bake. At that point I can see if I have a baby girl or boy and proceed from there."
Patty is not one to rest on her past success, however. She likes to be challenged and has begun making more of her own clay props such as baby carriers, toys and bottles - and, not that she needs to - she just keeps improving.
She next wants to continue working her way up the age scale. "I am looking forward to trying my hand at children that are the age of five or six now that I have become comfortable with making the toddlers," she says.
(Pictured: Toddler Gracie)
Another change she's had good results with is posing her dolls to look like they are interacting with each other.
"I recently made two toddlers that looked like they were discovering something together," she explains. "The customer that bought them is thrilled to have them join her other toddlers and babies in her nursery. I have had a couple of customers decide that their dollhouse was for babies and children only after purchasing a couple of my dolls. It is very sweet when a customer falls in love with my dolls as much as I love them! It makes me want to sculpt even more."
Of course with all these motherless children around, Patty has been asked if she intends on sculpting a mother doll. She is considering it, although she admits it is a bit daunting.
"I have had a couple customers ask me when I will try to make a mother for some of the babies which made me realize I need to attempt to make an adult," Patty says. "It's so easy to get settled into a little corner doing what you feel comfortable making. This will be so good to step out of the box and experiment more! This will be a goal for me this year."
While Patty loves all her children, she admits that a recent favorite was her new pair, Martin and Daisy, along with her newest little baby, Mia.
"I loved how both of them looked so good together and I also loved the little outfits that I made for them," she notes.
"Everything just seemed to work so well with both of them. They were sporting new hairstyles and I finally made pairs of pants that fit well! That was great fun having them turn out the way I pictured them in my mind.
(Pictured: Baby Mia)
"Another one of my favorites is my most recent baby, Mia. I loved how she turned out and her little outfit. I also experimented for the second time making a carrier and was very happy with the outcome."
Even more fun was the cute little Trick-or-Treater dressed as a bumblebee that Patty made for a Halloween-themed miniatures museum exhibit being organized by Tammy Shoup, a member of the Mini Doll List. (Details to come.)
Talk about realism... Patty laughs and says, "one of my neighbors wanted me to email a picture to her. Along with that I emailed pictures of my cousin's babies for her to share with her husband. When he was looking at the letter, he thought my Bumblebee was one of my nephew's kids! Of course, his wife corrected him!"
* Visit IGMA Artisan Patty Clark's nursery to see more of her babies and children.
(c) 2009 C. Verstraete http://candidcanine.blogspot.com