Spring Clean…

February 2nd, 2010

Well, its not exactly Spring as such… but I have been cleaning… greenware cleaning that is…

I’ve spent the past four weeks pouring, casting and ‘cleaning’ of what is known as greenware… I thought perhaps you may like to see what I’ve been up to.

Firstly, you have to ‘cast’ by pouring liquid porcelain ‘slip’ in to a mold…

A Simple Two Pour Hole Mold...

A Simple Two Pour Hole Mold...

In more complex molds, pour holes can be extremely small and generally molds tend to have more than just one or two pour holes as often they have more body pieces to them. This can really make pouring a little tricky and somewhat of a challenge to do correctly, its been known for the slip walls to collapse for example and only partial pieces to be poured within the mold.

Once poured we then have to ‘cast’ from the mold, but there is no set time to do this as it varies considerably from day to day and mold to mold… it can be anywhere from 20 minutes to over an 1 hour.

Greenware Pieces Cast From A Mold...

Greenware Pieces Cast From A Mold...

I prefer to use the old fashioned method of cleaning greenware, known as ‘wet cleaning’ personally I find I get much better results this way. However, it does mean a mask should be worn as the dust is dangerous and has been found to cause serious health problems.

Taking Away Seam Lines...

Taking Away Seam Lines...

Using a finger tool I remove all seam lines working my way through each piece. Then, I put the body pieces onto kitchen roll into a plastic container which I cover with cling film to keep moist and set aside.

To achieve the results I want means laboriously and painstaking cleaning each piece using a fine brush, which has been dipped in distilled water… taking care not to use too much water otherwise the piece will simply disintegrate, literally!
I repeat this method over and over again.

When cleaning a pair of hands for example, it takes me a minimum of two and a half hours. However, if I want to manipulate the hands so that the doll can hold something for example, it takes at least twice that length of time…!

Only when I am entirely happy do I move on to another piece, when the ‘cleaning’ progress begins again.

Almost Finished...

Almost Finished...

The final stage for me, is polishing the pieces. Using a piece of soft fabric and also my finger, I carefully rub over every piece, taking care as the greenware is still very delicate and it can break and snap easily, which at this point is very frustrating. I continue to polish until the pieces have a subtle shine. Then, the greenware is placed into my kiln and fired to over 1200ºc, this is at the point when ‘vitrification’ occurs and this is when the greenware becomes porcelain.

Fired Porcealian Pieces In My Kiln...

Fired Porcealian Pieces In My Kiln...

Once removed from the kiln the fun part starts and this is when I breathe life in to my dolls, by beginning my painting process.

“Each day comes bearing it’s own gifts… untie the ribbon.”
By Anon.

Lisa x