The photo I posted yesterday of the china painted dolls and toys in the kiln, ready for firing, prompted the following comment from Esther..
"I was wondering what that somewhat bulbous thing with the two protrusions was. At first I thought it mght be a snail but now I see. It's Humpty-Dumpty!"
I have a rather strained relationship with Humpty. As one of the porcelain toys in my Alice in Wonderland range he is immensely popular, and when he's complete he does look lovely.
But.... He's a right royal pain in the hoohah, is Humpty Dumpty.
He has spindly little legs and teeny, weeny ineffectual T Rex arms and no matter how carefully I try to fettle his 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!!!"
Not only do his legs fall off at the drop of a hat, but during the initial casting stage, his egg-shaped body tends to retain liquid slip, which blocks the stringing holes. In addition, he has spindly little arms , which are also a nightmare to soft-clean, as either the top of the arm, just above the stringing hole will snap off, or his hand will break at the wrist.
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 managed to successfully cast four of the whiny little buggers and before I embarked on soft cleaning them they were all lying together in the tray. 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!
I can completely empathise with the frustration which must have been felt by all the king's horses and all the king's men. Although quite how the horses were expected to help with the re-assembly escapes me. Quite honestly, I'd have pushed him off the wall myself, just for the satisfaction of seeing him shatter into a zillion pieces, knowing full well that putting him back together again was an impossible task. This is borne out by the fact that after my most recent casting sessions, I now have a small box full of assorted broken Humpty bits.... feet legs and arms, plus one body which cracked while soaking in the water. Out of the four castings, only two made it through to china painting.
He regularly drives me to barely suppressed Humpty Dumpty rage. He makes me sooooooo MAD! Sometimes I could quite easily punch him in his smug, superior, supercilious, smirking face.......