Gabriele Joy is the creator behind "GJOYful Fantasy Sculptures,"
here is an interview with her about her creations
by Robyn Kaye
Note: As you read, you will notice underlined text. Clicking on the underlined text will take you to photos & references of certain creations as Gabriele mentions them.
How did you begin creating Fantasy sculptures?"
I have never considered sculpting in the past and whenever I have tried sculpting in the past I have not had much success. This is why I am not really sure where my Dragons and other fantasy sculptures "came from." I don't understand everything there is to understand about how I got to sculpting them. But here are the facts that I do know:
I started collecting & photographing miniature ball jointed fairies, who meant a lot to me as I have always loved little fairies but never liked dolls in general, so I was happy to have finally found the perfect fairy dolls for photographing.
I decided one day to try making one of them a dragon friend, to sit in the fairy house I built for them. I got out some polymer clay we use for making some of the bear's noses, and although I did not expect anything very interesting to happen with the clay I was amazed to have created what was a fairly pretty dragon who later was named Snowgum.
In the next couple of days I created another little dragon whose photos I shared on my Facebook page, just to share what I had created for my fairies. I was certainly not expecting to receive 20+ private messages and multiple comments requesting I sell some dragons!! I even had people asking for custom order details. It was a completely unexpected response but that is where it all started. I still believe the fairies had input on the creation of my Dragons, as I never had a desire to sculpt anything and now creating the Dragons is something I do almost daily and making them makes me so happy!
What do you love most about sculpting Fantasy creatures?"
Most of all, I love how happy I am when I am creating the creatures. I am usually SO happy that I end up singing/humming/whistling while I create, and I have a wonderful time creating them. Sculpting the fantasy creatures can cheer up even the gloomiest of days.
I also love the number of amazing people I have met through creating and selling my sculptures. Some I know will be lasting friends.
What is your favourite part of the process when it comes to creating your sculptures?"
It's a tie. I love creating the face, but one of my other favourite parts of the process is writing each of the Dragon's stories. I feel more like I am interpreting their stories, as I look at them for guidance & then their story will always just pop into my mind. I also love it during sculpting when I get to that stage where there is a personality and expression looking back at me. At this stage I sometimes even start talking to the face as I sculpt, asking it about it's personality and what kind of Dragon/creature it is. It may sound silly, but it really helps develop the sculpture's character. This is usually where I develop the ideas for the stories I later write & print onto scrolls which are sent with all the sculptures. They're stories of the Dragon/creature's personality, likes/dislikes, family, hobbies etc. I would definitely say the best inspiration through the whole process comes with creating the face of the creature.
What inspires you to create your sculptures?"
So many different things can inspire a sculpture! Some inspirations are "obvious," whilst others make sense only to me. Some of the things that have inspired sculptures in the past have included: a piece of music; a movie; a character from a movie or book; a particular animal; bird, insect etc; one of the fairies; one of the bears; a shop; a house; a garden; going for a walk; trees....... the list is endless. I have hundreds of ideas for creatures (Dragons especially) floating around in my imagination, the tiniest of inspiration from another unrelated source can set off a particular idea and then suddenly I'm sculpting again!
Where is your preferred sculpting environment, and what completes it?"
It must be indoors. Although I love creating outside, I have to be inside to sculpt otherwise lots of dust finds it's way into the clay.
I am happy sculpting anywhere where there is a window with a nice view and where I will be relatively undisturbed while I work. I usually listen to music while sculpting too, which is generally anything by Hans Zimmer, James Horner, or Howard Shore. Whilst I love other types of music, I find score music often from movie soundtracks is the best to listen to when sculpting.
All of my tools, clay etc is stored in boxes so I usually move where I am working to a different room each time - I sculpt wherever the best light/sun/view is on the day.
What is your favourite Fantasy creature to create/sculpt?"
Dragons! I love creating Dragons, and they seem to be the most natural of fantasy creatures for me to sculpt. Of Dragons, my favourite types to create are Water Dragons and Earth Dragons as that classification has endless opportunities for gorgeous Dragons.
What is your favourite sculpting tool?"
Although I do have some really fancy sculpting tools (most of which I don't know the exact uses of), my favourite sculpting tool is actually the end of a paint-brush. But it's not "just any" paint-brush, it's a particularly perfect one for getting certain details in certain places on my sculptures. It has too many uses to count.
Do you ever keep your sculptures?"
Yes I do. I often make dragons specifically for a particular fairy , and those I always keep. I also keep Prototype sculptures which are reference sculptures for future creations. They're usually not in a state to sell, or have details that need perfecting. So these I also keep. I refer to these as my "Resident dragons." I would like to create & keep my own Totem dragon one day too. I think I will know him or her when I create it.
You believe that each of your Dragons is like a personal totem for it's owner.... do you have a totem Dragon for yourself?"
Not one that I sculpted, no. Although I do feel that one of my original Dragons, Quillag, is very close to a totem Dragon for me. I think I will make one at some stage that may not be intended to be a totem dragon for me, but when he or she is complete I'll just "know" that it's my Dragon.
At the moment, what I would call my totem Dragon is actually my Attic Creatures.... although they're not sculptures (they're soft sculptures AKA artist bears), they feel more like a totem Dragon to me personally. That may be because the idea for them came from an imaginary friend I had as a child who inspired the Attic Creatures.
What would you like to say to collectors & customers of GJOYful Fantasy Sculptures?"
A huge THANK YOU!! I am still amazed at how many people love my sculptures, and at how many collectors own multiple of my sculptures.... I'm so happy that they bring me so much joy to make, and that they bring their new owners so much joy to own too. It is everyone who keeps adopting my sculptures that allows me to keep creating them, so I'm forever grateful for your interest in my sculptures. Thank you!