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My name is Michelle Manning Williamson.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Meet Colliii Award winning doll artist Melissa Cavanaugh

American doll artist Melissa Cavanaugh was honored with a Colliii Award 2011 for her Reborn artistry. We met up with this talented artist to bring you an exclusive interview. Read on to find out more... Hello Melissa, why dont you start by introducing yourself to us.
Melissa: I live in a beautiful little coastal city on the Gulf of Mexico in South Texas. I have been a Texan all my life and love the city I live in. I’ve been happily married to my high school sweetheart for 19 years and he has been wonderfully supportive of me. I always say he is my biggest fan. We have been blessed with two beautiful children and I have the honor of staying home with them. It can be difficult finding the perfect balance between being a stay-at-home mommy and a reborn artist but I take great pride in both of these "jobs" and really work hard at being the best I can be at both of them! Congratulations on your success! This was your first time entering the Colliii Awards and you were not only nominated but also won. What motivated you to enter?
Melissa:  Thank you! I can’t tell you how much winning this award means to me. I entered on a whim. I wanted to see how far in the competition I could go and my goal was to be nominated for an award. I would have never, in my wildest dreams, imagined that I would win! It is a wonderfully shocking surprise for me and I couldn’t be happier about my nomination and Colliii Award win. There were so many amazingly beautiful babies entered this year and I can only imagine how difficult it was to choose the winning babies in each category.
I have always dreamed of winning a Colliii Award ever since I first began reborning. I admire the previous winners so much and they were my inspiration to enter. When I first began learning this art form I use to study their work and I really feel that I owe so much to them. My admiration for the previous winners has made me the artist that I am today. What made you enter the doll that eventually won? Did you make it especially for the Colliii Awards?
Melissa: I absolutely love Natalie Scholl’s Jayden sculpt. He is my all time favorite kit. I was only able to reborn this one version of him so I really wanted him to be wonderful! I was very happy with his finished result so it was natural for me to enter him in this year’s Colliii competition. What has happened to the doll now? Do you still have it or has it found a new home?
Melissa: He has been home with me for a little while now so I am ready to find his new mommy. I will miss him once he leaves me but it has been so nice to have him here with me while I enjoyed my Colliii Award win. He will be available for adoption on Ebay very soon. The Colliii Awards is the largest doll making competition in the world. How has the response been to your achievement?
Melissa: The response has been wonderful and I have made so many new friends because of it. Winning this award was a wonderful way to end the year and I’m so looking forward to the new opportunities that it will bring me in 2012. It has opened the door for some new prototypes and I’m so thankful for that. With the doll market moving towards new directions, what kind of dolls are you going to be making in the future?
Melissa:  I will continue with what I love and have the greatest passion for and that is preemie to newborn sized babies with finely rooted mohair. I am also very excited about some of the new innovations in reborn doll bodies such as the half torsos and ball-jointed limbs. I can’t wait to see what this New Year brings in these areas. What advice would you give to budding artists?
Melissa: I have only been reborning for about 2 ½ years so I still feel I have much to learn myself. But I think that one of the best pieces of advice would be to take your time! It can be so tempting to try to rush in order to finish a baby quickly but I personally feel that the best results are achieved with lots of love and labor! The best results for me have always been when I took my time and really paid attention to the small details. How did you react upon finding out you won?
Melissa: Ha Ha, I was in shock actually. I had been out of the house all day. When I finally got home that evening I immediately rushed to the computer to see if the winners had been announced. I was delighted to see that the video announcement had been posted. I was too nervous to sit down so my husband and I stood up and watched the video presentation. When my category came up I don’t think I even took a breath. I wasn’t expecting to win and was just waiting to see if one of my favorite entries had won. When the photo of my Jayden came up I began screaming and jumping up and down saying “I WON, I WON”. I don’t think I even heard my name said the first time. I then sat down and cried out of sheer happiness. You’d have thought I had won an Oscar by my reaction, but it really felt that great and I’m very grateful for my win! How long have been making dolls for and what got into interested in it?
Melissa: My daughter Isabella, who is nearly 3 now, was my inspiration for learning the art of reborning and she is the reason I named my nursery “Bella’s Babies by the Bay”. When she was just a baby I decided I wanted to capture my daughter's image in the form of a doll. I loved the idea of capturing that precious moment in time when a small baby is sweet, innocent and perfect. Searching the internet for a doll in my own daughter's likeness led me to discover life-like reborn babies. I was immediately fascinated & intrigued by them and instantly drawn to the process behind creating them. Though I have always been artistic and involved with some form of art throughout my life, including drawing, painting, sewing, decorating and crafts, I had never made a doll before. So with much determination, I took the leap and began my journey into learning everything I could about this fascinating art form and have never looked back. It is now my passion and my full-time job along with being a stay-at-home mommy to my two real life little dolls. My son and daughter still inspire me daily. I put all of my heart and soul into every baby that I create and seeing them come to life in front of me fills me with such pride.

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