Marita Winters

Interview by MacPherson Arts and Crafts


1. Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in Northern Minnesota. I have lived in Pink, Oklahoma for the past 25 years or so.

2. Have you always been interested in dolls?
I have always loved dolls. I received one doll each year at Christmas time. I remember wanting a Barbie doll so badly when they first came out. My older sisters got one to share and they made a rule that you had to be over 9 years old to play with it. Of course that left
me out! When I was an adult I happened to find that doll at a yard sale and had to purchase it!

3. When did you first become interested in sculpting? I worked for 20+ years as a
commercial artist. I was tired of doing art to please others, so I looked on Ebay to see if I could see any kind of art I could do at home, since I had 4 children. I saw the tiny little full sculpt mini babies and thought I could do that. So I researched where I could get
clay, sent off for it, and started sculpting. That was in 2003. I decided I would do this until I was tired of it. So far, I have not tired of it. Every sculpt is exciting and new and I sometimes sit in my studio all day long sculpting and painting now that my children are all grown and gone.

4. How did you first encounter reborn dolls?
The first reborn dolls I saw were at Tiny Treasures Doll Show in San Antonio, TX. I had a booth there with my one of a kind sculpts. Laura Tuzio Ross, Tammi Yarie and Shawna Clymer were there with their reborn kits. They are the ones who talked me into doing my first kit.

5. Have you sculpted dolls from the time you started sculpting, or did you start off with
something else?
When I first started sculpting, I could not always make a sculpt that looked like a baby, so I would just sculpt pointy ears and call it an elf or a fairy. I also went through a phase of sculpting fairy cats.

6. How long have you been sculpting?
I started sculpting in the late 1990s, but found that my kids were just too young to take that much time on sculpting, so I put the clay away until they were older. I started full time sculpting in 2003.

7. What medium do you use to sculpt your babies with?
I sculpt my babies from Polymer Clay.

8. What inspires & motivates you to sculpt?
Pictures of real babies inspire me. I will see an expression that I just have to sculpt.

9. Do you sculpt full time & do you have other hobbies?
I have done other types of crafts in my life, but since 2003, I only sculpt and paint babies.

10. Do you only sculpt for kit production or do you do custom ~ portrait orders too?
When I first started, I did sculpt custom one of a kind babies. I made the mistake of starting a list of people waiting for one, and it became so overwhelming that it gave me anxiety and sculpting was no longer fun. So, I had to actually cancel the list, which made lots of people unhappy, and started just sculpting what I wanted when I wanted. Then if people loved it, they could buy it and that was much healthier for me.

11. When did your first kit come out and what was the babys name?
My first kit was Sweet Stuff. She came out in 2010.

12. How many kits have you produced to date?
I have sculpted 44 kits thus far.

13. Do you have a list of names of all of your kits you have produced as we would love to
have an archive directory for your sculpts?
Sweet Stuff, Wee Yawns, Sunshine, Chicklet, Zinny, Teddi, Maisie, Loveable, Huggable,
Kissable, Mikki, Sweet Carolina, Benji, Raleigh, Tavi, Sydney, Lexi, Skye, Denver Rose,
Leighton Rose, Blessing, Taci, Khloe, Sami Jo, Ava Noel, Rylee, Mini babies: Katie,
Zachy, Zane, Marley, Nessa, Promise, Beejee, Becca, Stephie, Mini Yawns, Lilly Loo,
Fairies: Shasta, Petunia, Zodi, Toddlers: Annika, Madelaine, Mollylee, Kissy.

14. Which baby of yours has been your all time favorite and why?
Blessing is my favorite all time kit. She is sculpted from the measurements and photos of my granddaughter who was born at 32 weeks.

15. Do you plan to continue sculpting babies for kits?
My plans are to continue sculpting preemie size and mini size babies. I don’t believe I will be sculpting any more full size kits.

16. How do you feel about the reborn doll industry? What excites you and what upsets
The thing I love the most about this industry is that it gives many women a business they can do at home, and depending on their talent, can actually make a living with it. It give me, the sculptor, my doll kit dealers, and the reborn doll artists all the chance to be in charge of their own lives and businesses. I think the hardest thing about the industry for me is that there is a real glut of kits out right now, really too many kits that are all starting to look alike, especially the sleeping dolls. There are not enough customers for the amount of kits that are being made right now.

17. How do you feel about the progression of the art of reborning over the past 10 years?
I think the biggest changes in the industry happened about 10 years ago when kits became more available and people didn’t have to take store bought dolls apart to paint. Instead of undoing the store bought paint and hair, you could start fresh from a blank kit. Also the change from staining the insides of the kits with dye, was a big change. The other thing was the change in rooting styles. Back in the early days, the hair was usually thick and there was no thought of plugs. Now hair is done so carefully, and often just 1 or 2 hairs at a time.

18. Do you think that this industry has a long term future or do you think its just a fad
that will blow over? I
think there will always be a few people who do this as an art. It may not be as big as it is right now, but there will always be a market for a beautifully painted and rooted baby doll.

19.What are your plans and hopes for the future?
I plan to continue to sculpt and paint until I no longer enjoy it. My plans are to stick with preemies and minis as that is really what I love to do best.

20. Do you have something new in the works?
Yes, I have Blessing coming out as a silicone kit. If that does well, I may have some of my other kits made into silicone doll kits. I also have several mini dolls in the works.