Marie Laveau

Posted in Gallery with tags , , , , , , , on October 24, 2010 by Tommie

Oh my first post in a very long time.  Well finally it is here.  This is Marie Laveau.  She is sculpted from Super Sculpey Living Doll and a Living Doll/Kato Polyclay mix for the colorful bits.  There is also a daub or two of Genesis Heat Set Oils here and there.  My favorite part of any sculpt I have done is actually the little props that go onto the base.  There you will find a skull, a snake, an old book, and a dish of candies as an offering.  I hope you like her.

The Voodoo Queen

The Voodoo Queen of New Orleans

Deal or Get me the HELL Outta Here

Posted in News and Comment, Other Stuff with tags , on August 20, 2009 by Tommie

On a lark we decided to try out for a spot on the game show Deal or No Deal.

Well it was an experience. We arrived at the Foxwoods casino and I dropped Lynne Ann off then went to park. Once I found the main ballroom I was shocked at the line but didn’t see Lynne Ann. I was going to see if she was sure that she wanted to wait in that line.

After walking this enormous line of people a couple of times someone told me that the line started downstairs. I got there and oh boy… there was indeed another line almost as long. Still did not see her. Another person told me that the line started in some ballroom even further downstairs. Well to make a very long story short, it took us 8 hours to get to the front of the line where we were each allowed 20 seconds to speak. The conservative estimate of the crowd was 10000 people. It was an experience beyond rational description.



Posted in Gallery, News and Comment with tags , , , , , on December 17, 2008 by Tommie

Here is my latest figure.  He is made of mostly a mix of Studio by Sculpey and Super Sculpey.  The knife is removable and can be repositioned however one likes.  Hope you like him.




The OTHER Polymer Clay: Gore, Gore, Gore

Posted in News and Comment, Other Polymer Clay with tags , , on October 23, 2008 by Tommie

I thought I would send you all to visit a place with an appropriately seasonal name.  Now the subject matter is a mix of horror stuff, superhero stuff, and this and that, but the name sure says Hell’ o’ ween.  Gore Group is a conglomerate of sculptors and artists from Argentina.  On the site you can read bios of all the artists as well as a brief history of how the company began.  Their work is pretty amazing.  Of course not all of them use polymer clay, but the same ideas translate.  Some use wax, some casteline, some chavant… but all of them impress me.  There is a lot to see at Gore, Gore, Gore so spend a little time there and see what folks in Argentina are doing with their sculpting.


Reaching into the Bag of Tricks: Smoothing

Posted in Bag O' Tricks, News and Comment on October 17, 2008 by Tommie

While a close inspection of my sculpting will no doubt prove it is not the case… I have actually been asked in classes if I have no or unusually shallow fingerprints.  I think my fingerprints are normal ones.  The key to making it look like I have no fingerprints lies in the various techniques and potions that I use to smooth my work.  I will run down a few tips here, and maybe if you have had struggles or haven’t found the method that best suits you, I can be of some small benefit.

First off I like to use a relatively stiff and dry clay.  Some clays like fimo can be very stiff but seem to have an almost oily surface feel that will take fingerprints like crazy.  Other clays may be dry enough but way too soft.  The key is finding one that best suits you.  Most often I use Kato Polyclay mixed with Super Sculpey or ProSculpt.  Sometimes leaching is required to get the clay to the proper consistency.

I also try to grip the clay very lightly.  As Katherine Dewey taught me years ago, it’s better to drop something than to smash it out of shape by holding it too tightly.  Sometimes I will even use a stand, a bead tool, or a hemostat to hold the piece on which I am working.

I try to use the largest possible tool that will still do the job.  While not a fingerprint issue, this does really help lessen tool marks left on the clay.

Lastly comes the potions, goops, sludges, and slurry that I use.  For different problems I use different stuff.  I do use 91% alcohol, lighter fluid, Sculpey Clay Softener (formerly called Diluent), and spit.  Over the last few months though there is something I have gone back to over and over again.  Lander Cocoa Butter Skin Cream works wonders for me.  This is a product most often found in Dollar Stores, but I found several sites online by doing a google search.  I use a little bit of the stuff (and I mean a LITTLE) on a brush or on the tool that I am using at the time, and it glides merrily along.  It is less messy due to its creamy consistency, it smells nice, is good on your hands, and if you get it at the dollar store you can get what seems to be a lifetime supply for a buck.  Give it a shot one of these days.  I can’t promise that it will work for everyone like it does for me, but if not, you are out a buck and will have the softest hands on the block.


Reaching into the Bag of Tricks: Fabri-Tac

Posted in Bag O' Tricks, Other Stuff with tags , , , on October 8, 2008 by Tommie

Many of you are probably well familiar with this product.  I had totally given up on making dolls before I discovered this glue.  I never could figure out the damned sewing machine.  But Fabri-Tac came to the rescue.  But there is a problem with it.  It seems that when you first open that bottle, to attach some hair or to make a cloak, it flows beautifully.  Then the next time you go to use it, it flows only kind of plainly.  The next time the flow is a bit homely.  The next time it flows downright fugly.  Well I have a little tip for you.  (It’s not that big a deal… hell it’s on the label,  but no one reads the damned labels anymore.)  That distinctive smell when you open up your Fabri-Tac is Acetone.  Go to your local Home Despot, or Lowes and pick up a container of acetone.  It comes in quite handy for many things like smoothing baked clay and what not.  But our use here is to THIN the Fabri-Tac!  I get a smaller bottle made of same kind of plastic as the original and transfer a good bit of the glue into the smaller bottle.  Then I add acetone a little bit at a time and stir it until it reaches the right consistency to once again flow beautifully.

The OTHER Polymer Clay: Wayne “The Dane” Hansen

Posted in News and Comment, Other Polymer Clay with tags , , , on October 8, 2008 by Tommie

Wayne “The Dane” Hansen has been a well known figure in the figurative model kit world for many years.  I met Wayne at a convention in Louisville, KY a few years ago and found him to be all about sharing his knowledge and his passion for sculpting.  His videos are exhaustive.  I own one of them and I believe it is over 8 hours long!  It doesn’t seem like his site has been updated in quite a long time, (I know who am I to talk) but he has a lot of great stuff there to look at.  You also get a glimpse into who Wayne is, I trust you will find him as personable and interesting as I have.

On Display in DC

Posted in Gallery with tags , , on October 5, 2008 by Tommie

Well, for a sculptor, this may seem odd but I have a piece on display currently at the Bead Museum in Washington, DC.  The theme of the current exhibit is celebrating beads so I created a kind of African bead trader to fit that theme.  It made it through the jury process and if you are in DC you can see it at the Bead Museum.

On Display at the Bead Museum

On Display at the Bead Museum

Visiting the Mystery House

Posted in News and Comment with tags , on April 25, 2008 by Tommie

Winchester Mystery HouseI have wanted to visit the Winchester Mystery House since I first read about it as a kid.  The idea of a house so expansive and rambling as the Mystery House held great appeal to me.  This house was built by workmen hired by Sarah Winchester, heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, to work around the clock for nearly 40 years.  The house boasts doors to nowhere, stairways that lead right to the ceiling, windows in the floor, and a winding 7 flight, 44 step staircase that takes you a total of 10 vertical feet to the next level.  Mrs. Winchester seemed to think that she would be safe from the spirits of those killed by the Winchester rifle if she kept building onto her house.  It is a marvel to behold and an amazing feat of architecture for someone who never studied the discipline, nor drew up a single blueprint.


Lynne Ann in San Jose

Posted in News and Comment with tags , , on March 23, 2008 by Tommie


Many of you know that in addition to sculpting, my main job is as assistant to Lynne Ann Schwarzenberg.  She is going to be teaching an amazing class in San Jose on April 5 and 6.  This class will be a hybrid class where the students will not only learn her floral caning (making 3 different flowers) but will also learn her wood grain and pendant construction techniques.  If you would like to join us in San Jose email us at or visit the South Bay Polymer Clay Guild at and they can get you signed up.