Saturday, March 29, 2014

Original porcelain Doll

 I recently discovered in a cupboard,  an original porcelain doll that I made many years ago when I used to have a studio and teach. She's totally original,one of a kind, generally has a little gnome standing on her hand looking up at her.
To make something like this, I first sculpted the head and shoulder plate in clay, then from that made a plaster mold. (I used to teach all this)
Next the mold is poured in porcelain slip, then cleaned takes ages as all the rough seams and marks have to be cleaned off, this is a very delicate procedure as the head could break at any time, (called greenware). After cleaning the head is fired in a kiln, to approx. 1200 degrees. Porcelain is the highest firing and most unreliable medium as it has a memory.
 From there the fired head is more stable as it is now considered to be china, After sanding to make it nice and smooth, several coats of china paint  are painted on the doll, each one being fired in the kiln to set, until I'm satisfied. The body has to be made and doll dressed. My doll is dressed in hand dyed  parachute silk, which is showing lots of wear, she also has a hand made mohair wig. This doll is over 30 years old now so wont be long before she is considered antique, one only world wide, basically priceless. Poor baby is showing her age now but still serene and beautiful.
I had my own studio taught Doll making from the late 70's early 80's, one of the original "porcelain doll crowd" here in Queensland. Such an exciting thing to be involved with, shows just about every weekend, from here, North, Gold Coast ,Sydney, Melbourne, travelled everywhere including NZ.

Because it was so "new" it was also tremendously exciting, stall holders and fellow show people were friendly we really did have a lot of fun. Sadly, there's very few of the "old crowd " left and the atmosphere at shows has changed people aren't so friendly now.
My area of expertise, apart from teaching was designing crochet patterns specifically for doll makers. This came about quite by accident, I would dress a doll in crochet for someone, then someone else would ask me for the same outfit that you made for so and so's doll "well I made so many I couldn't remember who got what, so I started writing my patterns down. One thing led to another and I self published 6 books of patterns. Apart from teaching in my own studio I did travelling classes, teaching weekly at Warwick, Gatton, Stanthorpe, Millmeran. For awhile I worked full time too and looked after a household, must have been crazy. Every weekend from February to November there would be a doll show, some 2 days, some 3 or 4 days, most of them I went too. Life was hectic but exciting too.


  1. Very interesting Jeannie and lovely to hear the story of the doll you made. I wonder if there is any value in publishing your patterns as e-books?


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