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Doll stringing isn't done with string at all but with varying thicknesses and strengths of round elastic. The elastic must be round so that it will roll on the joints and in the metal stringing hooks which I make and embed in the hands and feet after demoulding. The elastic must be in scale to the size of the doll to give strength. I use 4mm round elastic for angels, 0.75mm elastic for 2½ inch 24th scale dolls and many sizes in between for all the other dolls. I will re-string my dolls for a modest fee plus postage during my lifetime in the unlikely event that they wear out. After I've gone a reputable museum will be able to help. One of the advantages of my dolls being made by painstaking traditional methods is that any museum with antique dolls will know exactly how to restore my dolls in the fullness of time. To preserve the dolls and hopefully ensure that they will not need restringing during your ownership, the dolls would like to live somewhere dry. However, if you are a tropical dwelling collector you will know that most ceramic items are unaffected by a bit of wet. 18th century shipping companies knew this, which is why they chose to use porcelain plates and cups so often as ballast. The items, well packed, were saleable anywhere and, if the ship foundered, could be recovered, washed and sold to offset the cost of insurance. So successful was this strategy that porcelain recovered after centuries on the sea bed has proved not only still collectable but sells at many times the original value. In the same way the porcelain parts of my dolls can be rescued, reassembled and enjoyed far into the future, like any other well-made heirloom.

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