Making Bleuette Part 5 - Making a Porcelain Doll


This week started with High Firing the clay into porcelain. You should always use witness cones to make sure your kiln is firing properly. It will go to some 2800 degrees, and take 12 hours or more to complete.

You must wait for the kiln to cool down completely before opening or you will get thermal shock and your pieces will crack up. Make sure your sensing rod is covered with enough high fire wash as to not get your cone stuck in the mechanism. This can lead to a mess, always know how long your kiln takes to fire, just in case you have to shut it off. You can always re-fire, but once it is over fired it is ruined, you cannot fix that. Always be home when you do fire.


Then we sand the porcelain smooth. So your paint glides on.


China painting is done in steps. It will take a total of 4 or 5 firings to complete the heads. There are several methods to painting, everyone has what works for them.


I have studied with Jean Nordquist, Kristin (Wheeler)Thor, and Karin Buttigieg to name a few, they each have their own style and technique. Each one has imparted ways of china painting that has helped make me a better painter; along with practice, that is all it takes. Kristin was told by Mildred Seeley to "make them pretty".

Jean Nordquist believes in painting the overall wash last, not first like others teach. This is helpful at times, and Karin taught architecture, structure, and balance. They all taught shading and spacing. How to build color to bring life to the doll. This is what it takes to make a beautiful piece of art, you are not just "painting a doll".


After each firing you do another part of the face and pieces you are doing with them, after 4 or 5 firings the pieces will be done and you can now use them, get them assembled, set the eyes, and then dress the dolls.


Next time I will show the assembly of the little doll, and the teeth and eyes for Rosette will be in and she will have a body and hair. That is the day she will have her birthday, and we will have a party!
Until then have a wonderful summer, Fran.

Fran Quinn