Friday, June 17, 2011

Two pics from January--My progress, Ball-Jointed Ceramic Doll BJD

I have gallery friends, who have known me for years, and then I also have friend friends. Once in a while, I would show my progress to them. Below are two pictures from my cellphone which I shared with them. 

The process of making my ceramics, not necessarily doll-making, is to sculpt from polymer clay, then make a mold, then make ceramic slip (which is clay with a lot of water, so it has the consistency of pancake batter), then drying and sanding the pieces, and then putting the pieces in the kiln. This shrinks the pieces, and thin pieces shrink more than thick pieces. While the pieces are small, and the goal is to make small pieces, there has to be enough room inside the pieces to fit metal springs to get the pieces attached to each other.

Each step has its own set of disciplines, and even mold-making, while it is an "invisible" step, something you cannot see on the final porcelain, has a set of skills you have to know and develop on your own. When I worked on the first set of body parts, which were larger, I went ahead to make the plaster molds, even though I knew I would sculpt a better prototype later. Rather than dwelling on sculpting polymer clay to keep make better and better pieces, I needed to make the molds so that I can also begin practicing on not just making the molds but also to begin practicing and gaining experience making and pouring the ceramic slip.

So I started with a larger prototype, which I knew would not be final, but I still went ahead to make the molds for it, because I can't wait to make a complete, perfect polymer clay prototype before I even start learning anything about mold-making.

At this point, I decided to make a smaller doll, so I made the heads first, and then the body parts, and then decided to make the ceramic for the body parts, put the parts in the kiln, and just use the old hands and feet, just to see a more finished porcelain stage, at least see if the heads and the body parts match, not counting the hands and feet. However, I needed hands and feet like you would need end loops or pin heads to keep jewelry pieces together, so I used akward, larger, earlier versions of hands and feet.

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