Rhonda Ingram of CreamSoda BJD recently moved to Mexico, and she has just completed a new BJD named Stella. As always, the artist continues to challenge herself and charm her fans with each new direction she takes.
Q: Since I interviewed you last, you have moved to Mexico. Tell me more about the town where you live now.
A: Sure, Bucerias is a beautiful laid back beachfront town in the Bay of Banderas, about 25 minutes North of Puerto Vallarta. I fell in love with the people and the place on my first visit about 6 years ago. Every year I came back, it was like coming home.
The locals are extremely welcoming, friendly people always greeting you as they pass and willing to help with anything you might need. The town is home about 17,000 people, mostly Spanish speaking Mexicans as well as many Canadian and American expats.
It is known for it’s slower pace, yet has all the amenities that a person needs to get away, get spoiled or simply be part of the local culture. Bucerias’ five mile stretch of soft sandy beaches, cobblestone streets and heartwarming charm give you the feel of simpler times.
I needed a break from the high cost of living and expensive health care in the US as well as all the stresses associated with that, and made the decision to move away from all that to a place where life is much more simple, relaxed and of course much less expensive so I could concentrate on my work as a doll artist.
So I got rid of/gave away everything I didn’t absolutely need and pointed my jeep toward Mexico!
Q: How has your move changed the way you work?
A: The move has greatly affected the way I work.
Firstly the things that I find more difficult…well being a tropical region the rainy season is from May to August so it’s very humid which makes drying clay a little more difficult for sure but AC helps with humidity and I use my convection oven more often to hurry things along.
The other thing is receiving supplies into Mexico can be hard and they often get lost or it just not worth the trouble of dealing with customs. So it’s an excuse for me to go visit friends in Canada and have things shipped there.
Working here for the most part is…. hmmm….healing.
My creativity abounds, my sculpts just happen, maybe because my soul is more at peace here, maybe just because life here is more laid back, calm and much simpler.
There is nothing like working under palms, fresh ocean breezes and distant festive music in the air. And the best part…. I rent a lovely 2 bedroom gated home about 8 blocks from the beach for $350 a month including utilities!
Q: Tell me more about Stella.
A: Stella is my first new BJD sculpt since I’ve moved to Mexico and very exciting for me as she is a new style that I hope to continue expanding on.
I have always been a huge fan of clay animation and some of the off-the-wall characters. With the move and my new life, I have decided to push myself outside of my box some and have fun with some new character styles.
Stella is a 40cm disproportionate girl with a large head and eyes, atop a smaller body. She was great fun to sculpt, and she has helped me to let go of the rules when it comes to proportions and to just have fun with it.
Stella has now also adopted a stray cat, Princess, and will also get a new little brother, who is in the beginning processes now.
Q: When will you have the resin prototypes?
A: Stella’s preorder will run until May 10th and then be sent for molding and casting in resin. I expect to be shipping preorder dolls to collectors in August.
Q: Will Stella be released in any other resin colors?
A: That will depend a lot on the response I get from this preorder. I would love to see her in a light tan.
Q: What eyes do you recommend for Stella?
A: Stella takes a 22mm or 24mm eye. The eyes she is pictured with are clay eyes I made for her because I didn’t have any her size handy and they are actually 23mm. The preorder dolls will be coming with glass eyes included.
Q: Any suggestion on wigs? She has such a big head!
A: Stella’s head really isn’t that much bigger than an SD sized head, if you consider they are about 8-10 inches. It just looks big because her body is smaller. Stella has an 11 inch head, so depending on the wig she could wear 10-11, or even a 12-13. There are several factory wigs on the market in those sizes. The wig she is pictured in is included with her in the full-set option and I will also be adding other colors to my Etsy shop as well as other outfits and shoes available for purchase.
You can find the shop here:
Q: Is the cat a BJD too?
A: No, Stella’s stray cat Princess is a static sculpt that I made to use as a prop for photos with her. But since making him I have had several requests from Stella collectors that want a stray as well.
I will be sculpting Princess in other poses so he can be carried too. I haven’t decided yet if I will cast him myself or sculpt them as OOAKS.
Q: When is Princess likely to be released?
A: I plan to have several made before Stella is ready to ship to her new homes so Princess could travel along with her
Q: What colors?
A: I’ll let Stella decide. I draw the line at stripes and polka dots….maybe
Q: Will the brother have similar proportions? Will he be much smaller than Stella?
A: Yes, he will follow the same style as Stella but be smaller 28-30cm. About shoulder height to Stella or a bit shorter.
Q: Are you currently making other things than dolls? (Clothes, eyes, wigs etc…)
A: Yes, but only for the dolls I have made. I think Stella is going to have a whole assortment of clothes and wigs available.
I had a lot of fun making her leather boots for the photos and as soon as time permits I would love to design and make more leather shoes for her.
Q: Is there anything I haven’t covered that you would like to add?
A: As with all my dolls I always have extensive work-in-progress blogs so everyone can come along on the journey. A doll usually takes me between 5 and 8 months to sculpt because I always make a new body with each head I create. So it’s kind of interesting to see what goes into the making of a doll. With Stella I chose to shoot video instead of blogging, something new for me, but my followers are really loving the videos. Here’s a playlist of all of them, including the one I shot of making a pair of boots for her.
There is also a Stella gallery where you can check out lots of pictures:
Come on over and like the CreamSoda BJD Face Book page so you can follow when new goodies are available:
Thanks to everyone for supporting my work and
“Keeping the dust flying”
CreamSoda BJD – artist’s website
Stella may also be ordered through doll store Denver Doll Emporium.
A previous article on CreamSoda by BJDcollectasy may be found HERE.