I always like to have the kiln full for bisque firings, which takes an awful lot of teeny tiny castings.
I don't much mind the casting stage, but I detest the soft-cleaning stage..... sitting for hour after hour with my hands in lukewarm water, meticulously fettling seam lines on pieces of fragile greenware, some of them less than 1/4" long.
However, the exultation I feel when I finish the last piece is indescribable, even allowing for the fact that one more tedious task remains before I can fire.... the loading of the kiln.
I've just spent the past 4 hours, crouched over the kiln, meticulously placing each and every carefully soft-cleaned piece onto 4 shelves.
There were a LOT of pieces.......
Oh by no nonny no.
But it doesn't end there either.
There are over 250 dolls and toys, which means that there are in excess of 1000 limb parts in them there boxes. No wonder it took me over two months!
So, all of the above are now neatly loaded into the kiln......
Not quite full, as there is still some space on the top shelf, but near enough.
I'll set the kiln to switch on early tomorrow morning, so it should reach the optimum temperature of 1215 degrees Celsius over about 7 hours and will be done by the time people in Hastings and St. Leonards get home from work and start to drain power from the grid. Then it will a full 24 hours before it's cooled down enough to open the lid and check the contents....... hopefully it will be a perfect fire otherwise there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
But it doesn't even end there!
Each of the dolls will require 3 separate china paint firings, and the toys will be hand painted using enamel and/or acrylic paints.
Even then, each doll and toy will be strung to give them jointed, moveable limbs.
Then dolls destined to be costumed will move onto the next stage, dressing and wigging, which require a completely different creative skill set.
As well as time and patience, all of this requires skill and experience, garnered over the past 30 years. So next time you look at a little dressed porcelain toy doll, please remember all that goes into creating her.