Feature Artist: Reida Wrenholt

By Taylor Wilson

For this article, I chose to interview an artist named Reida Wrenholt. She is a very sweet and gentle soul and a grandmother of four. Her house seemed to have some of her art in almost every room. Here is some of what I found out about her.

Reida claims that she colors/paints her creations the colors that she feels will go best with her creation. One example is making a deer or moose brown or even adding stripes or polka dots to her art. Reida doesn’t really have a need to think about what she sculpts. Rather, she sculpts based on what she feels. She likes people and “just likes making faces”. Something that Reida finds interesting is how hands are positioned and facial features. Usually, she sculpts her creations out of a type of clay called polyform clay. This is a very forgiving medium that allows Reida versatility and leeway when sculpting. Paper mache is also sometimes used if she is going for something larger. Taking up the use of pottery clay was also mentioned, but only recently did she do this.

Many of the heads of Reida’s sculptures are tilted to the right when you face them. But when I asked her about why this happened, surprisingly, she had not even noticed. On one particular piece, a sculpture of an old lady, the head was tilted to one side. On the side the head was tilted, there were writings of sad things. But on the other were writings of happy things. But again, this was not on purpose. The tilt of the head was just a coincidence.

After being in a club called the Mad Doll Makers for a while, Reida found that though she and many others there were taught both doll making and doll clothing making, she enjoyed the sculpting part the most. This led her to focus mainly on the process of sculpting the form rather than making clothes. She has also learned to slow down when creating sculptures or… oops! Off snaps the arm due to a weak armature. It may not get done as quickly as you would like it to, but at least it doesn’t break is her point. This is with all good art I would say and I am sure Reida would agree.

Reida enjoys making wild and exotic things too. She sometimes mixes wild hair, antlers, and anthropomorphic features to make her fantastical ideas. She acknowledges that there are an abundance of these ideas, but that one must first find them. In other words, they won’t just fall into your lap! She makes lots of people, but not many animals. So recently she has been wanting to craft some animals, too. She mentioned a conflict she has inside about how simple or complex to make something, which is a conflict I just never really seem to come across in my own work. This makes it a foreign one to me.

In one of her works, “War,” I noticed it looked very sad and gloomy, what with the crow on it perched atop a tree branch. It was very different from most of her other more whimsical work. When I asked about it, she revealed that she was born a little bit before the Vietnam War and since she was too young to protest, she made this piece later in life as a sort of commemoration to all of the sadness and death the war brought about. She said she was never really in support of any of the wars we have been in, since she was born anyway. This inspired her to do art representing the wars and the tragedies they caused.

“Oh, the arm wasn’t strong enough; I didn’t have a strong enough armature in it.”

Reida Wrenholt

Reida agreed with my comment about art being this innate need to create and I think she feels the same way I do about art. It’s like being a robot that can’t stop creating until it runs out of energy or gets turned off.