Monday, May 26, 2008

Pretty in Porcelain

I 've begun experimenting with something I 've always wanted to try- but has always remained 'mysterious ' to me- Porcelain.


The doll still does not have a name, clothes or a character yet. One thing I do know is that I love her. And she will tell me who she is when the time is right.

Assembling the doll- creating the body in proportion to the porcelain parts and putting it all together- was the most challenging part for me. I think it's because I'm so used to working almost entirely in cloth. Also, most of my creations tend to be fantasy-like, and almost "thrown together" like some sort of 3-d embellished collage. This doll is life-like and "speaks a different language." Creating her was a great challenge for me and I feel a great sense of satisfaction.

I used a cloth body pattern by Dianna Effner, which was given to me by a friend at my doll club. I tweaked the pattern so much it really isn't the same pattern anymore, but it was a great starting point. I would say I would not have been able to do this without that pattern because it gave me what I needed to understand how to assemble a doll like this. I'd recommend it to anyone wanting to learn to make this type of doll.

The head and limbs are also by Dianna Effner. I did not know exactly what they were when I got them, but apparently they are called 'Willow.' Really pretty mold. Somebody already used the mold to create the parts. I just got the parts and connected them to the doll. I had to make the body fit, which was really hard to do! But it looks ok now...... :-)

I also tried experimenting with the armature. I knew this doll would need a very well- made and sturdy armature if I wanted her to stand unassisted.


I used sculptor's armature wire and something called loc line modular hose. I had heard about this stuff in passing once before and never actually thought much of it- certainly would not go out and buy it. But it happened to fall into my lap. Lucky for me- it's wonderful. I will definitely buy more when I run out. It works much like vertebrae and I really liked working with it.

This is what it's "supposed" to look like:

You can get those little orange connector pieces separately- for my doll I used tape and wire. If you use this system you will need to buy special pliers. It's impossible to snap the parts together by hand.

Here's how I made mine:

I incorporated armature wire into the loc line and fished it right through. For the arms, I only used bare wire because the loc line could not fit into the hollow of the porcelain arms. But that worked out just fine.
In lieu of that orange centerpiece, I connected the wires with duck tape at the doll's "heart."

The armature is thick and sturdy, yet very flexible. As a result, the doll has such a strong an steady skeleton, and stands naturally one her own although the head is so much heavier than the rest of the doll. She is perfectly balanced.

You can buy loc line here
Another great resource for porcelain doll making is here
(GREAT site for doll making supplies. I have had very good experience with this vendor. No experience yet with the loc line site above.)

Here is a rear-view of the doll. I love the way her toosh came out!
I really like the doll's shape. I covered the hollow of her head with 2 pieces of fleece sewn together in a circle. That will help keep the shape of the head when she gets some hair.

I am not sure who she will turn out to be. I need some special fabric. Then I will "suddenly realize" what the dress should look like and I'll sew it. I think I want french tulle, or silk batisse. I don't know for sure... I will wait patiently until the right thing comes my way.
And hair... what to do about hair? Maybe she will grow her own :-)

For now, Dolly is wrapped up and taking a little nap.
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