Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Ready... steady... FIRE!

Yesterday I finally completed the final few boxes of soft-cleaning from a major casting session I started off way back in September.

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.......

 These are the flesh coloured dolls and toys.  Told you there was a lot, didn't I?  But it doesn't end there.

Oh by no nonny no.

 These are the white coloured dolls and toys.  Including the infernal Humpty Dumptys which I blogged about HERE.  Out of 10 castings I managed to soft clean 8 without the legs breaking off.  I'll fire the other two to use in my own projects in the hope that I can do an 'invisible mend.'

But it doesn't end there either.


 Each one of these boxes contains the limbs of all those dolls and toys.... from arms and legs for tiny 1" long crawling babies (and 20 other assorted little toy dolls) to limbs for the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, and March Hare.

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. 


ginnysminis said...

PHEW!!! I creamed just reading fear Sandra, your little tiny dolls reflect the care and work you put into them, there are just beautiful, thank you for all your hard work bringing us mere mortals such lovely treasures xx

Sandra Morris said...

Awww..... thanks Virginia :) Sx