Monday, 20 October 2014

Cutting loose.....

A few weeks ago, after over a month of researching, humming and hawing, and doing a lot of justifying, I bought A Thing.

It came in a big box.

The Thing in the box was this.....

It's a cutting Thing.  

A devilishly clever cutting Thing which can cut all sorts of other things.  When I have learnt to use it properly it will transform my working life, but in the meantime it's mostly performing the function of a desk ornament.

I find it increasingly difficult to apply enough pressure to cleanly cut the thick card by hand which I use for the scenery and components for my little toy theatres.  I can only do it for a very short time and my hands take ages to recover afterwards.  In theory, with my new Thing, I should be able to upload my designs and it will cut them out perfectly, time after time, to the nano-millimetre.

This will open a whole new world of creative endeavour, as I have ideas for dozens of miniature toys which have been languishing as I didn't think I'd be able to manage if I had to cut them entirely by hand.

Also.  Boxes.

You'd think, wouldn't you, that boxes would be a snap to make?  They look so easy.  A base and a lid. What could be simpler?

However, if you've ever tried to make a box, by hand, from scratch, you will know that they are anything but simple.


Here is the result of a week of experimenting and learning how to work The Thing.

I am ridiculously and inordinately proud of this box.  I have lavished love and care on its design and its subsequent creation.  It is perfectly square.  The lid fits perfectly.  The sides and corners are perfectly crisp and even.  It measures 3" wide, by 3" deep by 2  1/2" high.

And it contains......

Little Violet, (who measures less than 2" tall!) is dressed in a hand-sewn silk costume, with pleated dress and bustled silk jacket, and reclines on a luxurious silk pad.  Her accessories include two tiny dresses, a bonnet, silk parasol and an almost microscopically tiny pair of gloves.

As this little presentation case harks back to the heyday of French dollmaking in the 1890s, there is even a tiny Eiffel Tower silver charm to celebrate its Parisian origins.

For a first go at using The Thing to make a box, I think c'est magnifique..... even if I do say so myself 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Mitigating circumstances......

I've been soft cleaning for what feels like forever.  This is what I get for spending weeks doing a massive batch of casting.

I've finished the head/torsos of all the little toy dolls and now only have the Alice in Wonderland toys to do.  The Mad Hatter, March Hare and White Rabbit are relatively easy although their tiny limbs will be a challenge.

However, Humpty Dumpty is just a right royal pain in the arse!

He has spindly little legs and teeny, weeny ineffectual T Rex arms and no matter how carefully I try to fettle the seam lines,  holding my breath and barely even touching the fragile soft-fired greenware, inevitably one of his legs will ping off, usually just as I'm on the last nano-millimetre.

If there were a market for one legged Humpties I'd be a shoe-in.


I find myself muttering...... "Please, PLEASE don't break.  Don't break.  ohpleasedon'tbreak. Just. One. More. Tiny...... *ping*  OH BUGGRIT!!!"

It doesn't help that he has a a smug, supercilious smile on his fat, egghead face.  He seems to mock me.

"Well, well, well (he has a high, cracked, nasal voice)..... so you couldn't even manage to clean me up for firing without knocking one of my legs off?!  That's just great.  Fine and dandy. Call yourself a 'dollmaker'?  Pshaw and tush."

He has a fine line in sarcasm and can continue in this vein for some time......

The urge to pummel him into his constituent porcelain atoms is almost irresistible, and I can't say that I haven't occasionally succumbed to an uncharacteristically violent (although extremely satisfying) act of retribution.

What can I say?  I plead mitigating circumstances. I was driven to it.

I have another 5 of the whiny little buggers to do today and I'm not looking forward to it. They're all lying together in the tray now. Plotting and sniggering.  Sniggering and plotting.

I can't say I'm surprised at his nursery rhyme fate.  I don't think he fell off that wall.... I'm convinced he was pushed.  There was probably a queue of potential pushers.  With all the King's horses and all the King's men jostling for position.

And as for putting him back together again.  Forget it!