Tuesday, 20 May 2014

In the workroom today.....

Flushed with success after her barnstorming performance during March, which earned her the much coveted Tower House Dolls Employee of the Month Award, Small Dog hasn't been resting on her laurels.

Today she was overseeing PP putting the finishing touches to some little wooden trunks in her role as Quality Control Assistant.  From what I could make out, this involves a lot of sniffing and a fair amount of extremely close CWN* supervision.

At the other end of the desk I was up to my wrists in tepid water, valiantly trying to get to the end of a marathon week of soft cleaning and I'm delighted to report that I FINALLY got it all finished..... YAYYYYY!!!

These three boxes represent the result of several weeks of casting and subsequent soft cleaning sessions.

The darker coloured castings are still damp from being immersed in water for the soft cleaning process, but soon dry out.

It's then time to load each individual piece carefully into the kiln, hoping that I've judged the amount of castings just right so that the kiln is filled to capacity so that it will fire to maximum efficiency.

I load heads and torsos on the bottom shelf, which is covered with a thin layer of kiln sand to prevent the pieces moving around and potentially coming into contact with each other. If this happens, they can stick together and be ruined.  So each tiny casting has to be meticulously placed on the shelf with a gap between each one.

Bottom shelf - heads and torsos

In this firing I have a mix of castings in different porcelain tints.... some are flesh coloured and some are white.  Different colours require subtly different firing temperatures so I place white castings on the middle shelf, and the remaining limbs on the top shelf.

It always gets a little nerve-wracking towards the end, wondering if I have enough space left....  this time I judged it perfectly (admittedly more by luck than judgement!) and I couldn't have fitted in another tiny arm or leg.

Top shelf -assorted arms and legs

I'll set the kiln to switch itself on automatically early tomorrow morning, so it should be finished by mid afternoon, having reached a top temperature of 1215 degrees Celsius.

So fingers crossed for a perfect firing.....

*CWN - Cold Wet Nose


AM said...

Hello Sandra, your dog is too cute for words. My dog always falls asleep in my studio under my desk when I am working. The picture of all the small parts in the oven looks really cool. I really enoyed your blog. greetings AM

Sandra Morris said...

Thanks :)

I'm sure Small Dog would curl up under my desk if there was any space!

rosanna said...

I am always amazed and in awe for the quantity of pieces you make and the HUGE work which is behind them.
SD is too cute for words :o)

ginnysminis said...

Hi dear friend......I am so grateful for this posting.....I am about to start making my own babies having been treated to a new kiln, and your helpful comments are fast becoming my useful tips being a novice...thank you Sandra hugs Ginny p.s. teeny hugs for SD too