I cannot recall a time in my life when I was not creating something. Throughout my childhood education I always looked forward to art classes and projects. My formal education in graphic design furthered my creative spirit and I worked in that field for many years. I have experimented in a variety of mediums including tole painting, silk screening fabric, jewelry making, lampworking beads and nearly everything in between. I have designed, created and sold my finished pieces to the public for more than twenty years. I have always felt a special connection with those purchasing my art and I am inspired and encouraged by their comments.
My first exposure to doll making came at a workshop in 1996, where I first sculpted with polymer clay. Having fond personal memories of Christmas, my first sculpture was a Santa, and Troutman Originals was born. Immediately, my intrigue for the art form grew and I began my never-ending quest for knowledge and experience in both sculpting and doll making. I joined and became an active member in a local fabric doll club experimenting with creating dolls in fabric and other mediums. I prefer polymer clay as my medium because I find it best suited for bringing my ideas to life.
Creating three-dimensional life like sculptures of Christmas characters brings me great joy and provides a way for me to share my Christmas memories. Through numerous workshops, I have learned specific techniques in sculpting, proportion, posing, skeletal structure, durability, and other areas. These techniques are incorporated into every figure I create. I have dedicated myself to developing my own style of Santas, each with a unique character and theme. I create each figure with the intent that it will become a collectible heirloom proudly displayed and admired for many years to come.
I believe Santa speaks a magical language to all people. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of Christmas and my family's annual outing to visit Santa. Sculpting is the key to my secret world and as the expressions seem to emerge from the clay, those fond childhood memories live on. The sculpting, costuming and posing each combine to create my gentle Santas and other Christmas figures. Time seems to stand still during the creation of my dolls to the point that when I look at the finished doll, I can barely remember performing each step.
In April 2004, I became a juried member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen and in August 2004, I was accepted to become an Artist Member of the Original Doll Artists Council of America (ODACA), an organization dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in original doll making. In December 2005, I was featured on the Home and Garden Television (HGTV) show "That's Clever" creating one of my Santas. My Santas have been featured in numerous national magazines and are sold through shops and galleries throughout the country.
In 2008, I began teaching various workshops to individuals and groups. Through these workshops I have enjoyed sharing my love of sculpting with others and watching their excitement as their piece comes to life.