My name is Renata Jansen, I live in England and I have the very best job in the world! I am a sculptor of one of kind figures. It's not really a job, it’s a passion! If I am left to my own devices then you will find me in my conservatory sculpting, I never get enough of it and I am never bored! I’ve always loved art but definitely have always been most interested in the human body. At college the figure drawing lessons were my very favorite of all. I love the curves and folds of the body and skin, the way each feature on a face is slightly different to another face. I am often caught in an embarrassing moment where I have been staring at a complete stranger for an abnormal amount of time! I studied textile design when I was younger and worked as a textile designer for 12 years, hence I’m now quite good at painting a flower quickly from memory! I thought I loved my job and I was incredibly happy until I discovered that what I really needed to do was sculpt! In 2003 I realized that there was no job for me in the textile world anymore, most designs were being done on a computer, and there was a total lack of interest in flowers. Designs were simple and geometric. For a while I stayed at home refurbishing the house, but never wanted it as a long-term job. One day I was looking up how to sculpt a face for something I was making for my daughter and stumbled upon a figure made from polymer clay! That was it! I asked for clay for my birthday and while I waited I joined forums and learned as much as I could about sculpting. I did a lot of sculpting in my head before I had any clay! When I did try it for real, I was very worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it because I had never sculpted before, but sculpting for real just made me more passionate and excited about it. Although my first few sculptures are embarrassing to me now. Sculpting comes far more naturally to me than painting ever did, but I do love painting my figures as realistically as I can make them and that part is fun. I also like to place my figures in a painted setting most of the time, I feel it gives them a place in time…like taking a photograph. I have a lot more to learn and improve with my work, each day is a new exciting start. My favorite time in a sculpture is at the very beginning when the possibilities are endless! My greatest influence is my grandmother, she didn’t have much money and lived in a prefabricated house in Durban, South Africa with her 3 dogs. She was very relaxed and would let my brothers and I draw all over her floor in chalk, we made roads and towns for our cars to drive in. There was a hole in her floor between the kitchen and lounge, which was covered by a piece of carpet, and you had to be careful not to step into the hole! She sang crazy songs to us and made us laugh all the time. Her garden was like a jungle because she had the greenest fingers I have ever known, everything she touched thrived. I loved staying at her house, we would catch the bus into town and on the long walk home from the bus stop she would take clippings from the edge of the gardens we walked past to grow when she got home…and they always grew into huge plants! She could make the most incredible dolls clothes, and knit beautifully too! I have a memory of her buying me a doll on one of our trips to town that now as an adult I know must’ve cost her all her money, but she did things like that all the time, not just for us but for total strangers too. She really was a very special person.
- First Place Professional Category ProSculpt Annual Scholarship Award 2010
- Dolls Magazine February 2011