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LACE DRAPED DOLLS
Information through the courtesy of " Nebraskalassie "firstname.lastname@example.org
page added sept,1998
PERMALUX-LACE DRAPED DOLLS
|If you are used to pouring porcelain in molds, disregard
the first page of these instructions and proceed just as you normally
do for pouring porcelain in the molds. Just be sure that the slip doesn't
glug from your pouring container either going into the mold or when you
empty the mold!!! VERY IMPORTANT
These instructions are from my teacher JESSIE BENFELDT (if anyone happened to know Jessie) She is no longer with us, she died about 3 years ago.
Anyway here goes:
Materials needed to pour the molds:
To prepare your molds, unpack and be sure they are dry. Molds are generally
shipped as what is known as "wet" to cut down on the breakage. They
will probably feel slightly clammy. Strap them together and set where
they are well ventilated for several days. When they feel dry to the
touch, unstrap them and clean them well with a non linty cloth dampened
Mix slip thoroughly and thin with distilled water. DON'T USE TAP WATER, IT HAS TOO MANY IMPURITIES FOR PORCELAIN WORK!
Slip should be the consistency of heavy coffee cream.
Be very careful about draining the mold so that it adheres to the
mold while it is setting. Let set until it is hard enough to support
itself (upside down). I found this usually took about 45 minutes for
You will need the following supplies for this portion of the work on your lady doll.
Now for the fun part of making the doll.
Carefully clean the seam lines from the skirt of the doll. Working
on just the skirt part of the doll. Clean and pour hole and bottom to
the skirt, I usually carefully hold the skirt in one hand while using
the other for this process, whatever works for you.
Place the skirt of the doll on either a half shelf for the kiln which has been thoroughly washed with kiln wash. I like to place the half shelf or piece on a plastic wheel that turns. Dust the shelf with a little extra kiln wash to assure the doll doesn't adhere to the shelf during firing.
You can also use pieces of broken shelves if they are large enough for the doll skirt. Just be sure the skirt does not extend beyond the shelf. It has to be supported during firing.
Pierce the doll skirt with the needle tool. I like to go about 1 inch
(2.5 centimeters) up from the bottom and pierce diagonally into the
bottom to the doll to be sure the bottom is vented. I can't stress this
enough . It is one improvement I made over Jessie's method. She quite
often had the bottoms of the skirts on her dolls blow out and since
I started this, I never have a blow out..
Attach the torso of the mold to the skirt mold by taking strips of
muslin and dipping them into slip. Place the torso where you want it
on the skirt mold being sure there is a pierced place in the top of
where the skirt mold fits onto the torso (remember you have two hollow
pieces and these MUST be vented.
Now, working on the skirt alone, start the draping process. I use
either white or flesh color for this. Cut a length of muslin long enough
to fit around the doll when gathered so that it will give fullness to
the skirt. I usually allow at least 2 1/2 times the circumference of
the doll skirt it should be about 3/4 the length of the skirt mold as
the draping will take up some.
Make very sure that it is all soaked through with slip. This is important
for every step of the draping process. Using the needle tool either
thread the muslin onto the tool or by gathering the muslin in the opposite
hand (I use my left as I am right handed, see what I mean) start at
the back of the skirt and start draping the muslin in pleats or gathers
about 2 1/2 in. (5 cm) down from the waist of the doll.
When you have the muslin arranged to suit you, carefully coat the
muslin with some more slip brushed on over the entire length of the
muslin. Let set a few minutes till slip loses it shininess.
You can press down (carefully) with your needle tool to avoid too much fullness right at the waist. The skirt should be full at the bottom but pretty close to right size at the top. Do allow about 1/4 in. for fitting the torso on the doll.
Now you are ready to design that costume for your doll.
Now carefully gathering the lace in your opposite hand place it on
your doll after first putting some slip around the waist of the doll.
Every step where you place the lace or fabric must have a little slip
on the doll to hold it!
When I get to where I started, I take a bit of slip on the lace and fold under the end of the lace and adhere the folded part to the lace under it. In other word, overlap the two ends so that it makes a finished looking piece.
Now, you are finished with the skirt of the doll. If you want panniers on the skirt over the hip, wait a few minutes till you finish the next step (s)..
Now for the touchy part (as if it hasn't been touchy up till now) Pierce the torso where the arms fit on. Remember hollow to hollow again. Clean seam lines from arm molds.
Attach the arms to the torso by using the same type of strips you used to attach the torso. Lots of teachers tell you to use balls of clay to attach the arms. While this is an easier method, you can end up having to prop the arms or having them sag onto the skirt of the doll-not a pretty sight. I guarantee they won't sag using this method.
Let set long enough to lose the shiny look and be able to support
the weight of the arm. Now take your finger saw and VERY CAREFULLY saw
the fingers up to where it looks right to you. Then clean the crumbs
away by taking a very small brush ( a china liner works just great)
and some distilled water.
Now drape the bodice of the doll. If the lace is very open, you may want a little net under it. It isn't really necessary, but you may find you like it better.
Drape the front, then the back overlapping at the side seams and of course trying to keep down on the number of raw edges, I like to fold the overlapping one over that makes a more finished look.
You can make little buttons out of scraps of porcelain slip or Attach
small lace or medallions made from your lace or some of the small flowers
that come ready made. All of the above are lovely, used in the right
Now saw the fingers and get them solid and cleaned well. Let your doll set for about 45 minutes or so. Take time here to decide if you want to do something like a hat or put curls out of other hair (dog or cat or whatever) If you want long curls, wrap your material around the handle of a brush after first dipping it in porcelain slip. Doesn't make much difference what color you use as you will china paint it later anyway.
If you want to make a hat. Use cardboard for the brim, it will fire out, just be sure you get lots of slip on it to support it while you fire. Sometime large brimmed hats tend to droop. I had one (hope to have a picture of her ) that came out just perfect and I think she is very beautiful.
I hope you choose a color porcelain other than beige or white for your doll costume. Yes, you can china paint the color on but the colored porcelain is so much prettier!
After letting the porcelain set for a bit, come back with a brush, such as a luster brush and coat with slip all over the lace. Be sure not to miss any, this is important. Remember you have been moving the lace around or touching it after you draped it and it may have lost some of it's original porcelain. This prevents burn outs.
If you have a little build up of slip, clear it with your needle too. Be sure it is cleared as I said before this is what makes a lovely doll.
Cover your doll and let set over night. Check doll and let set in an area free from drafts, you may want to put it in your kiln and let it set again. I usually let it set for a couple days.
Check to be sure all the porcelain is adhering well and if not recoat it again. First be sure your kiln area is very well vented, an exhaust fan or something to carry the fumes out is essential. No, fume exhausts only won't cut it here. The smell is awful, burning rags. You know that is what you are doing. You burn out the rag content of your doll and leave only the porcelain.
Now the fun comes. Place a cone 6 (six) cone in the sitter or whatever
method you use and turn kiln on low leaving all the vent holes and top
propped in it's highest position. For the first 45 mins. leave lid propped
this way. Lower lid to lowest position (not closed) and let finish the
next 1 hr and 15 mins.
Let kiln cool (takes about a day) .
Bring doll out and inspect to burn outs, (this is where a little prayer to God helps, Please God, don't let there be any! ) If there does happen to be a small one, it can be covered with a flower or medallion and refired. Don't have to be so critical on the refire, you have most of the work done in the first fire, you can also fire to a cone 2 on this one. Push firing is okay here too. I wouldn't recommend skipping a whole setting such as going from low to high, but times can be reduced.
Now, if are sure you are satisfied, you are ready to glaze. If you want to leave it bisque, paint the hair and features on the doll and refire at 018.
I like to use luster on the dress of the doll- this is what makes it "permalux:"
Glaze with regular glaze for porcelain-I use Seeley's this will fire
up to a cone 2 and is especially clear with no yellowing effect. Fire
at cone 05 up to 2 whatever you want to do.
When cool remove from kiln and put luster on the dress part of the
doll. You can use colored lusters to help decorate the costume or just
MOP luster for an all over shine.
Now fire at 018 again.. When the kiln is cool -Eureka !you have a gorgeous heirloom to enjoy yourself and hand on to coming generations.
You most surely want to display her in a glass case or at least a
glass dome. I find that she can be transported successfully and easily
by making either a wheel or a square of plywood with a spindle sticking
up in the middle . She will NOT tip over and is safe in this manner.
(NOTE FROM MARCI) Thanks, Nebraskalassie, for a very informative article!)
|This next section was added by Maggie Clark|
I usually order flesh color and bone white and color my own slip.
I occasionally use E-Z strokes when painting on greenware. After the piece is fired, I can either leave it as bisque or apply a clear glaze.
By mixing different colors of E-Z strokes with small amounts of Porcelain slip before pouring into your molds - you can get a very attractive marbelized effect.
Give it a try - works great.
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