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Monday, February 22, 2010

10" Dolls Ready to Assemble; New Kiln; Carousel


What a better way to start off a new month than to add my pictures of my latest two dolls all dressed up! I still need to make the shoes for my Portrait Head 10, but I just didn't want to wait any longer to share them with without further ado, I give you Portrait Head 10 and Vanessa!

I am not sure what I want to name her yet...with her pretty blue-green eyes and dark blond hair, I am just at a loss. I found this lovely cotton lawn fabric on-line and knew the colors would be perfect for her. I used the pattern book "Fashions For Small Dolls" by Rosemarie Ionker. I just love how the blues and greens in the fabric really accentuate her eyes.

Little Vanessa was a challenge. I began learning how to make shoes from Hearty Clay and so I followed the instructions to a T with mixing my colors...but once I finished the shoes, I discovered that there are not many fabrics out there with these same colors. While playing around on e-bay, I ran across this vintage cotton voile fabric that looked very close to the same colors....after winning the auction and receiving the fabric, I was amazed at how close the colors matched. The pattern for this outfit includes a little hat, but I ran out of the trim I used on the hem of the dress that is called for to use as a hat band, so I have been desperately searching for more so I can make it. I am also looking for some tiny silk ribbon in orange and raspberry so that I can make some roses for a nosgay for her to hold. For now, she will just have to snuggle with her little dolly. This little dolly was also hand made by me using hearty clay and press molds.

With these two dolls almost completed, I have began working on three more dolls. Two of them are larger dolls with cloth bodies, and the other is another 10" full porcelain body doll. I am getting a lot better with pouring the molds and cleaning the greenware, which makes a huge difference in the quality of the finished doll. I know that the weather here is supposed to be absolutely georgeous this weekend so I hope to be able to pour some more. With the addition of my small kiln and new molds, I am all set!


It has been yet another productive week for me. I was able to get my two 10" dolls assembled. They are now ready to dress but I am looking for the right fabrics. I have an idea of how I want them dressed...but finding the right colors of fabrics to accentuate the eyes is the trick. I have learned in the past that no matter how much work you do to a doll, if you choose the wrong colors of fabrics, it takes away from the beauty of the doll. So, without furhter ado...I would like to present Vanessa (Red Head) and Chelsie (Blonde)!


Hello everyone! Here is 10" Portrait Head 10 and Vanessa all painted and ready to assemble. I have the stands ready but have decided to try to make my very first pair of Hearty Clay Shoes for one of these dolls. I will use the dolls leg as a form to make the shoes so it will be a lot easier to do this before I assemble the doll. So, here they are...what do you all think?

My new Kiln has also arrived! It is the small Fire-Fly Kiln by Paragon. This kiln is going to come in handy when I am china painting these little heads. I was able to china fire them in under 40 min. and was able to take them back out of the kiln in a couple hours. Here is a couple of pictures. The first picture is one of my new Fire-Fly, and the second is a picture of both my kilns side by side. The larger kiln is a Skutt and it is perfect for the larger dolls I do make from time to time.

I have also been working away on china painting the Carousel Horse. This piece has been fun so far but has also proved troublesome. Since China Paint doesn't dry until fired, trying to not touch the piece while painting it is impossible...and if you touch wet china paint and don't catch it, it will leave prints in the paint when fired that you cannot fix. I decided to paint the horse in stages. Since most horses are not all the same color anyway, I feel the different tones of brown will only make the horse look better. I am going to work on this little guy later tonight while I wait for the Heary Clay on the dolls shoes to dry. I know that for sure, I have to get the first coat of paint on the horses eyes before it goes in the kiln again. So, here he is so far.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Here are the Heads with the 3rd Coat of China Paint....Having some Pupil Issues


I worked on these heads Wednesday evening. I struggled with the black pupil part on both of these heads so I have not yet china fired this coat of paint on. No matter how much I moved the paint around and manipulated it, I still see that one pupil seems to be a tad bigger than the other one on each head. Most people would ask, then why don't you just add some more paint and make them bigger...well, when I tried this, not only were they extreamly off balance, but they also looked even more cockeyed. So these heads are waiting for me to decide weather I want to china fire them as is, or try again to even the pupils out. I will more than likely try again and see what happens. Once china paint has been fired on, there is no taking it back off...and since it is translucent, trying to add to or fix a mistake with the next coat does not work. Here are the Pictures. I am not sure if you can really see what I am seeing....

I am also working on a Porcelain Carousel Horse that my friend Tamara gave me while we were at Controlled Excentrics last weekend. I am trying to paint this Horse in stages because china paint also never dries until it is china fired...and there isn't much for me to hold on to as I paint it. So I am working on it in stages. Gary is going to try to find me a long threaded pole that will fit through the holes so that I can anchor it on a base while I work on it. This will allow me to get the paint on evenly.

What I would like to do is find a doll the right size to make for this little horse. I can see her in my mind sitting atop the saddle with a huge smile on her face and excitement in her eyes. The hardest part of this will be finding the right sized sitting doll for it.

I also have been pouring dolls and cleaning the soft fired greenware. I sat at my little work station almost all day yesterday working on cleaning. I used to just buy my bisque but a few years ago when gas was almost five dollars a gallon, shipping went through the roof so I decided it was time to learn how to pour and clean. I set out to learn this part of dollmaking thinking it was going to be easy...boy was I wrong! Until recently, I have been having loads of issues with my is either way to thick or way to thin. I was lucky enough to be able to attend a Webinar hosted by Tony Tanner of The Porcelain Place where he taught us the History of Slip, the differences between slip, and the proper way to thin and pour Ultra Chic Porcelain Slip. After this Webinar, I used his method on some Seeley's slip I have been having problems with and Voila!!!! Problems solved!!!! Of the three dolls I casted the other day, all of them have soft fired and cleaned beautifully. The parts I casted before taking the webinar, are all giving me problems during the cleaning. Hoepfully this means I have finally learned this stage of porcelain dollmaking and will now be able to pour with confidence. Next week I am taking another webinar on again pouring, but also cleaning the dolls so I am really looking forward to it. Happy Dollmaking!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

2nd Coat of China Paint on the Eyes!!!

Here is a good picture showing what the doll heads look like after 2 coats of china paint being applied and fired on. These heads will require 2 to 3 more coats before they are completed. I am really happy with the way they look so far. What do you guys think?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Express Yourself Arts Studio and Controlled Excentrics


What a great weekend I had! I found a new store on-line a few weeks ago and decided to contact to owner. Controlled Excentrics is a HUGE Arts and Crafts Studio located in quiet, beautiful Sutton, WV (which is about a 3 hour trip for me). After a couple phone conversations with Tamara, the owner, a visit for me was planned. The news starting calling for a snow storm over the weekend so we made arrangements for early Friday. It was well worth the trip. Tamara has it all from mosiac pieces, glass fusing, ceramic bisque and of course dollmaking supplies! Here is just one picture of the doll area:

I am so happy I finally found a shop that is within driving distance where I can go and buy the supplies I need. Once we got to the shop, the weather took a drastic change for the worse! The temperature started falling, as did the snow. Knowing the roads were going to start getting bad, we cut the visit short so we could head back home. Tamara and I did have time to very quickly pour a couple head molds with Laguna Porcelain Slip. I had never used this slip before and she wanted to show me how easy it was to pour. She broke out a jug of mocha brown slip, stirred it a few times, and we poured them. Within 10 to 15 minutes, the excess slip around the pourholes started to pop off all by itself and the molds released very nicely! I also noticed that the color of the slip did not transfer into the mold at all. It was just a white as it was before we poured it. I am going to order some of this slip and try pouring my 10" doll molds with it. I can't wait to see the results I get when I have more time to really concentrate on pouring. Tamara and I are discussing setting up a weekend this Spring or Summer for me to go back down to the Studio to teach an eye painting class! Now that I have visited the Studio, I am really looking forward to going back down when I have more time.

The trip home was a whole different ball game than the trip going down. By the time we hit the Morgantown area, the roads were snow and ice covered. We seen many vehicles wrecked into the medium and off the sides of the road. Traffic was creeping along at 20 mph but we were still sliding all over the road. Luckily we made it home safe and sound and the next morning, it was still snowing! We ended up with total accumulations in our area of 24" of snow. Here is a picture of Gary's truck in the driveway:

With more snow predicted for this evening, I plan to stay home and work on dolls! I have been painting on my bisque and will have to take some pics to post.

Have a great day!!!!
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