Helen Terlalis Dorn from Clay Babies, Inc – Polymer Clay Whimsical Sculptor

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Helen has been around the polymer clay world for quite some time. Her work has appeared in magazines, on Sculpey’s website and in their tutorials, and pops up on Pinterest too. Today, I’d like to share Helen’s adorable character creations with each of you.

About Helen Terlalis Dorn:

Hi there…My name is Helen Terlalis Dorn from Clay Babies, Inc.  My husband and I live in central Florida and we love being in “paradise” most un-hurricane days!!  I am a mother of two men now, James, a First Lieutenant in the Army, and Nicholas, an airline mechanic at Boeing.  Both currently live in SC. I am a YiaYia (Greek for grandma) to my one-year-old granddaughter, Frida (named after my mother)!

What’s the History of Your Art & How You Got Where You Are Today?

Ever since I can remember I have just loved art…from coloring to watching my mother sew on her Singer to her painting ceramics, doing mosaics, and adding crocheted lace to every pillowcase in the house.  I was HOOKED from childhood.  Took every art class in high school and in college I would be in the art room every free chance I had – since I took medical classes, there were no art electives…but I had friends that took art classes and I would join them when possible.

In 1988/89 – I saw this artist at a craft show whom I was enthralled with her miniatures.  I asked if my boys and I could watch her create and she said yes.  So, we did and I was HOOKED again with this media – polymer clay.  Bought some Super Sculpey and made some rudimentary pigs and Amish people and gave them as gifts.  Friends insisted I participate in a huge local fall show at a school….I did and sold out…again, HOOKED!

I participated in local shows for a few years and then in 2002, I went “big time” doing huge convention shows up and down the east coast.  In 2015 I did my last show and just sold online via Etsy and then currently my Facebook business page.

What Makes Your Art Unique?

That’s a tough question…but I think it’s because they make people smile and that’s my Number One goal.  Customers will tell me how seeing my work makes them happy…lots of customers have them by their computers and look at them for inspiration to be happy!  I have made custom pieces, especially memorial type items and just love hearing how my pieces of work put a smile on their faces again.

Where is Your Art Created?

My husband and I share an office.  My side has lots of very colorful art hanging and I love my corner! Having OCD, not diagnosed, I am super organized and luckily my workspace doesn’t have to be huge.  I have a kitchen island piece of furniture that I use as a desk and have shelving with my supplies behind my computer.  It’s perfect!!

What is Your Favorite Thing To Do with Polymer Clay?

I love making figurines the most, then ornaments and lastly pins/magnets.  My clay friends have shown me how to make canes, so that’s my big ‘out of the box’ thing for me! With polymer clay the ideas are limitless! I love working with cane scraps very much – no rules there – so that’s freeing for me!

What’s Your Process Like? Tell Us About It.

Hmmmmm….don’t really have a process – I just decide what I want to make or have an order for and I pick my colors.  I don’t draw anything out first.  If it’s my first time making something, I will look up images and go from there.  

Tell Us About Your Favorite Piece

I would have to say it’s my “Long Beard Santa” ornament that was featured on the cover of my very first publication.  It was always, always a huge seller at every craft show. It’s very traditional, simple and makes a lovely gift.

Who is Your Polymer Clay Idol?

I have a few…but I think the first one I saw was Linda Peterson on the Carol Duval show…never missed an episode with her or any other clay artist back in the day.  Also, Shelly Comiskey – who introduced my work to Polyform Products who then contacted me and they got my Santa on the cover of CraftIdeas in 2014!  Also, I admire Christi Friesen, Lisa Pavelka, Alice Stroppel, Syndee Holt, Karen Baker, Amy Beeler, Doreen Gay-Kassel – too many to name.  I have met and taken many classes from these talented ladies.

Coming Up

I am teaching in this year’s Polymer Clay Adventure 2020. Look for me in April as I will be doing a LIVE 3 day 3 hr. class for Curious Mondo. I have other teaching adventures planned for next year and into the future as well. As time permits, I take custom orders. My figurines are always available for adoption on my Facebook page.

Where to Find Helen Terlalis Dorn


Sculpting Blessings,

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