Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Casting caution to the winds.........

Yet another marathon casting session today, following on from yesterday's.

I'm making a virtue of necessity by having to cast all the little dolls for my club workshop next month, and topping up our stock of porcelain doll kits, plus starting a few orders which have arrived this week.

I was in exactly the right frame of mind for casting today and had put aside several hours during which I could legitimately ignore the telephone or the doorbell. At times when there wasn't anything interesting on the radio, I did some 'thought' planning for my IGMA trial submission, which will have to be finished by October.

I've been toying (no pun intended) with idea of five really different pieces, but am acutely aware that they all need to be executed perfectly to succeed. If even one of them falls below the mark the whole attempt is doomed.

So, while pouring and emptying moulds, then fettling the resulting greenware today, I was running through the possibilities for what to submit. Which were, in no particular order,
  • Wicker toy pram complete with tiny jointed toy baby doll dressed in christening gown
  • Deluxe animal pullalong toy
  • Mahogany games chest with games pieces etc
  • Jumeau style toy doll in period costume
  • Victorian bride doll with accessories.
Then I raised the bar even further by contemplating making the bride doll fully jointed (ie jointed head, arms and legs) plus real glass eyes. What you have to remember is that the finished doll is just under 1 1/2" tall, the head is the roughly the size of a small pea, and the tiny glass eyes are the size of mustard seeds. It takes forensic skill to cut the tiny eyeholes exactly.... even 0.5 of a millimetre difference shows up like a sore thumb in this tiny scale. Even if the eyeholes are perfect, the inside of the eyes then have to be bevelled, so that the eyes fit snugly into the eye sockets. For that to happen, the porcelain at the edges has to be extremely thin, which is nigh on impossible to do without tiny pieces breaking off.

As if all that wasn't bad enough, for the head to move freely, there has to be enough room inside the tiny pea-sized head cavity, for the stringing elements. Not to mention the glass eyes, which are spherical, so take up a disproportionate amount of space within the head.

I have done this only once before and I remember at the time saying 'never again' but the ordinary is not good enough to gain IGMA artisan status. It is only really worth submitting the extraordinary. Although whether in doing so I will retain what remains of my sanity, is anyone's guess.

However, aside from the technical challenges of the jointed glass-eyed doll, the only piece from the list which I'm not at all sure about is the games chest. Working in wood is not my natural forte, and if anything's going to let me down it will be that. I've made some sketches and have been 'researching' for some time, so the basic idea is there. It's the execution which might leave something to be desired.

So, perhaps sticking to what I do best is the only sensible course of action. If only the selection rules had stayed at the 2008 requirement for three items......I'd be spoilt for choice then. However 5 items, which must all be sufficiently different and all to an extremely high standard is a tall order.

In the end, I have come to the conclusion that I should make 10 different items, and choose the best 5 to submit. That way, if any of them don't turn out quite right, I will still have several others to fall back on.

Well that's the plan.

All I have to do now is get on and do it. Whilst in the meantime, fulfilling my primary tasks of actually making a living, and having a life.

A tall order...............or simply mission impossible?


rosanna said...

My goodness what an accomplishment!! I didn't think they were so pretending. It is really something that makes your wrists shake. But... when the game is tough the toughers go on!! and you are so talented that I bet you'll succed at first attempt. Mini hugs

tattyhousehastings said...

I came back from retirement if you need a break!