About Me

Boggy Bottom Bayou®
Carly Smith

A Florida native and nurse by profession, I have always enjoyed hobbies such as quilting and other needlework crafts.  Her favorite craft was designing whimsical folk art Santas and other dolls out of muslin and other natural fabrics and wool.  Opting to be a stay at home and raise her husband and two boys, her favorite pastime soon became a career.  The soft sculpted soft sculpted folk Santa’s and other dolls were sold all over the country.  I also spent three years as a contracted design artist for Midwest of Cannon Falls.

One day, I happened upon a teddy bear workshop given by renowned Teddy Bear Artist Ann Inman and made her first bear.  Mohair is made from angora goats and ranges from 50.00 to 300.00 per yard depending on length, style (curly, short, etc.) and density.  I spent several years as a successful Teddy Bear Artist selling my bears to fans across the globe. !  “Patches,” one of her larger bears, is on display at the famous Teddy Bear Museum in Naples, Florida.  My bears were sold all over the world.  Some of her favorite teddy bears, such as “Chance” and “Hope” among others have been donated to auctions benefiting the Spring shelter for domestic abuse and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation

As time went on, I missed designing dolls and resurfaced as a Primitive Doll Artist selling through multiple venues such as Ebay, PFATT Marketplace and TDIPT Mercantile, and Handmade Art Fair online. I also continued to design bears and in January, my Bear, Boo, was published in PRIM Magazine along with others in our TDIPT Group. As time went on and the economy dropped, mohair was so expensive, I began to design exclusively in muslin soft sculpture.
I specialized in dolls that had a whimsical, not to serious appeal, dating back to my folk art roots. 

In 2102, I attended a Halloween Art Show.  A lot of the artists worked with a medium called paper clay I began my clay headed doll adventure while attending a Halloween art show known as Goultide Gathering.  There I saw how a clay dolls could have a greater variety of expressions than sculpted cloth dolls.  I knew right then I had to learn how to work with clay!  So, where to begin? I took a couple of online tutorials on how to work with the clay and develop some facial features One online tutorial on Primitive Santas by my friend Brenda Sanker of the Vintage Polka Dot gave me a starting place.  It provided me with the basics of using paper clay. By now, I was hooked and forming my own clay headed characters! Off I went on my adventure in clay!

In the Fall of 2012, my dolls were featured in Art Doll Quarterly! Then I was juried in to a Halloween only Art Show much like the one I had attended previously.  It was a total love affair with Halloween…so much fun!  In the Fall of 2013 I was given another feature article in Art Doll Quarterly, and a page in their Artist Challenge section with my prop light bird cage doll, Marguerite, and a feature article in Holidays and Celebrations that showcased my Halloween ornaments.  My creations also appeared in Somerset Studio with my Spool Ghouls and Scary-Go-Round which actually spins around on a turntable. I attended the Halloween Show, Spirits in Sanford, again in 2013. I have recently been accepted as a participating Artist for the Halloween show Hallowbaloo to be held in Seattle, September 20th 2014.

 Working with clay completely envelopes my mind and sense of touch.  It totally focuses me on what I’m doing and I feel free to lose myself in its magic!  For instance, you may hear me say something like “Oh!  Did I burn the roast?...that’s OK…I’m sculpting”. Or the dryer buzzer is going off…I never hear it…I’m sculpting!  In a way, it’s very similar to reading a good book…when I’m doing it, I think of nothing else!

Friends always ask me why I specialize in Halloween pieces.  There is just something about Halloween that allows me to dream up all kinds of humorous characters.  It allows me the freedom to explore with just about any color (save pastels), type of fabric and of course, embellishments of every kind.  Halloween brings me a certain amount of reckless, silly, glee and the abandonment of normal, which appeals to me.  The best way for me to tell if someone likes my work is for them to make some sort of a combination of a giggle, quirky smile or even a squeal!  Then I know I have given some amount of pleasure to that person.   I work for that!  My husband and two sons call my art goofy. They are my biggest fans…that’s fine by me…I love goofy!
Meticulously hand crafted using the finest materials each character evolves as a mixture of art and fun sprinkled with folk art details that sneak out from my whimsical and joyous past.