I'm in inventin' mode. Trying to work out the best, most foolproof way to make realistic 'paperweight'-style eyes for my little porcelain toy dolls.
I've tried no end of different tiny glass eyes over the years, but they all end up looking a bit 'starey' in situ as the irises are generally way too small. The best of the bunch are real hand blown glass eyes from Germany but they're very expensive and there's still the 'starey' problem.
I've also tried polymer clay eyes, and although they can look amazing, getting them small enough is almost impossible. The heads of my largest size of toy dolls are about the size of a pea, and when I say pea, I'm not talking about big garden peas, but dainty petit pois.
This means that if the eyes are true to scale, they must be about the size of mustard seeds. The smallest size of commercially available glass eyes is 2mm, which sound tiny but look and feel enormous when trying to manipulate them inside a pea-sized head.
Aside from getting small enough eyes, there's another problem in that it's also extremely difficult to bevel the eye inside a pea-sized head, and inevitably, when the inside edges of the eye hole are almost thin enough, the fragile greenware at the very edge will chip or flake off, rendering the head useless.
It's a supremely frustrating task.
I'm trying to think of a solution to each of these problems which will guarantee a perfectly fitting, perfectly proportioned eye, which looks like a tiny version of the gorgeous paperweight eyes of vintage Jumeau dolls.
It's going to be a tall order.
There are a number of options.... from using tiny glass beads and customising them, to using my kiln to experiment with fused glass eyes. Alternatively I could go the route of polymer clay eyes, making my own moulds and experimenting with making 'iris canes' which sound simple in theory but in practice would probably drive me demented.
Whatever route I decide to take, it's not going to be straightforward, it's not going to be quick and it's most definitely NOT going to be easy.