I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am. Here’s a clue to what I’m excited about
Opening the kiln to reveal the new stuff will never be boring. Even now after 23 years when I have a fairly good idea of what I’m going to find, there is still excitement in the discovery. This time too, because most of my life is spent being a carer, it is so many months since I modelled this range, I had almost forgotten what I had made. However here they all are, or, to be more specific, here are those that survived being demoulded in wet clay and rubbed down in greenware. As some of the pieces are very small, the survival rate was not huge, as you can see in close up, the number of heads and bodies outnumbers the pairs of upper arms and hands quite considerably.
There were so many tiny pieces it took me a day to grit scrub them all. For recently arrived readers, grit scrubbing is part of the manufacturing process. The parts come out of the kiln with a gritty feel, to make the porcelain clean they have to be sanded down to a smooth finish, which involves standing at the sink rubbing bits of porcelain almost too small to hold with one of those abrasive sponges that are used in car body workshops. When the pieces are small it rubs your skin and fingernails off too and, as you have to rub them wet, the water runs up your arm and soaks your jumper in the winter. It is a better job for summer weather. Once scrubbed and dried I couldn’t resist a quick assembly to see for myself how they would compare with the previous range of 24th scale dolls.
As you can see, and much to my relief, the dolls are certainly finer (in the miniaturist sense meaning thin and not clunky) in every way and the children, of which there will not be many, are practically miraculous.
After this they all went back in the kiln for china painting for heads and shoes. I had to devise a system with metal letters to identify which china painted heads should be reunited with which body parts, I may not know fully until I have strung them all and found which won’t fit, if I managed it.
At this stage I still did not know if I could string the dolls. The holes in the arms are too fine for any of the elastic I usually use. I had about a foot of the Japanese 0.5mm hat elastic left and it wouldn’t go near the hole, it was just too big. After much tarting around with almost every stretchy substance known to man and a great deal of swearing and making new stringing tools from bits of wire I finally managed to string one of the larger dolls, Mr. Darcy.
How lovely is he? A tiny romantic hero! He really is very small
Somewhere in all of this or on any of the other three bats ( pottery speak for kiln shelves)
hides his bride. Can I find her? Will I be able to string her if I do? What about wigs and clothes this fine, am I up to it, and, indeed, up for it?
Extreme excitement, stay tuned.
Janethrill of the new Laverick.com