Category : Work in Progress

3 years, 7 months ago 18
Posted in: Work in Progress

Hey there Doll Collectors! An old year is ending and a brand New one is about to begin! I’ve been celebrating this annual renewal (for a whole month now) by renewing and reorganizing the very foundation of Enchanted Doll – My china painting palette. It holds a special significance to me. Read its creation story to learn why.
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The act of creating a new paint box was both, practically necessary and symbolically important to me. It was necessary because I needed more room for my growing arsenal of china paints, while my old paint box has become an over-crowed and confusing mess over the last 10 years of use. But it was also a symbolic act, because it represents a reformation and a renewal of Enchanted Doll at its very core. I hereby proclaim that 2016 shall be my year of dolls! Happy New Year!

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My new paint box had to be multi-level, air tight, orderly, user-friendly and of course, attractive. Unfortunately I know next to nothing about carpentry, so the box turned out a little bit, um…unorthodox. It’s crooked and uneven in, well, virtually every dimension, but surprisingly it works well! I am, after all a big subscriber to the “Fake it, ’til you make it” philosophy. Or in my case, it’s usually “Fake it, ’til you ruin a bunch of stuff, waste a bunch of supplies, and eventually make something” philosophy. It’s a somewhat destructive approach to creation, but much of the time it’s the only way to learn making something.

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Using basic math skills and a high speed sanding wheel, I put several channels into 3 sides of the box to hold 4 layers of suspended glass sheets, which in turn will hold my pre-mixed, paint-ready china colours. Many ceramic artists still use simple porcelain tiles for mixing china paint, but it seems like a very archaic and wasteful method to me, because of the non-drying nature of china paint.

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Once mixed with oil media, china paint doesn’t dry on its own and can stay a wet goo for years, so at the end of each paint job one must either discard the wet puddles of mixed paint or try to store them somewhere-somehow until the next doll, without contaminating and smudging it on everything around it. And that is the general conundrum.

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A more optimal solution seems to be to keep a mixing surface in an air-tight paint box to protect it in the long run from dust, hair and skin debris, thus reducing the need to mix new batches of paint for every paint job and minimizing waste and hassle. Also, keeping a full palette of pre-mixed, paint-ready colours on hand is very liberating and helpful during the painting process, as opposed to having to mix every new colour one intends to use in any given project every time from scratch. That’s why a neat china paint box wins over one-time-use mixing tiles.

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Of course the box is also a more costly solution than tiles, as it requires an initial investment of time and energy to construct it, but the convenience of long term use and the neatness of paint-preservation are just so worth it. If I could have bought this box somewhere, I definitely would have, but the absence of such a product on the market had forced me to manufacture it myself. It was such a headache, but like I said, totally worth it.

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Once the wood frame is complete, I move on to cutting glass. Several times over. The glass store is closed by the time I realize I’d mis-measured and ruined ALL my available glass, so I’m forced to harvest it from picture frames. I take my least favourite frames off the wall, remove the glass and toss the rest. It seems like a very expensive and wasteful way to procure glass, and sure, I could wait until morning to go and buy more of it from the store, but that would delay the completion of my box by at least 12 hours and I want it finished taaday, dammit! So, goodbye picture frames.

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Then, many painful little cuts later I have my glass sheets cut and filed down. Time to engrave them!

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The reason I decided to engrave squares into my mixing glass sheets, is to permanently segregate colours from each other, prevent cross-contamination and label them. In the past I tried labelling my paints by writing with a permanent sharpie on the glass, but eventually that disappears and the colours become anonymous, runny messes. Engraving, however, doesn’t come off. It provides a permanent means of labeling and separation. The grooves around each square channel any run off oil medium away from other colours and into a closed circuit, thus keeping order for many years and making clean up easier.

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This is my old box and the new one side by side. The first one is a picture frame I found in the trash in 2005 and adapted for painting when Enchanted Doll was still very young, and the second one I made specifically for that purpose in 2015, for its 10 year anniversary!

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And that’s why making this paint box holds such a strong symbolism of renewal to me – When I was young, making dolls came purely instinctively and thoughtlessly, but over the years it has matured into a thought-out, deliberate choice I make every single day over and over again. The first box ten years ago was a random lucky find that set me on this course, but the second one bares the full weight of my intent and commitment to it.

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This paint box is my Year’s End epiphany, from the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.

I hereby proclaim year 2016 to be the glorious Year of the Dolls! I wish every one a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Wish me happy painting!

 

3 years, 8 months ago 15

Did you guys say you wanted to see a doll in this box? Well, you ask and I deliver. Enjoy!

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3 years, 8 months ago 23
Posted in: Work in Progress

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I’ve spent the last week brushing up on my glass-working skills by making a practice display box. It turned out with a decidedly Victorian flair, which was likely inspired by seeing Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak two weeks ago.

What a wonderful Gothic scary-fairy tale for grown ups! It wasn’t so much about ghosts or monsters, as much as it was about monstrous people. I think it had a lot of nuance and reminded me of actual Victorian era crimes of serial killers George Joseph Smith and H.H Holmes. I think the film might have been partly influenced and informed by them. But I digress.

I constructed my practice display case from glass recycled from my old picture frames, and then engraved the door with high-speed diamond tip burs. Making it was a lot of fun: scoring and cutting the glass, soldering it together with brass came and assembling it into a functional object. Twice over. It turns out I’m terrible at measuring. The hinges gave me the most trouble, but I eventually conquered them .

Machine glass-engraving is a more recent interest of mine. Last year I wanted to make some monogrammed glass terrariums as Christmas gifts for my family, and decided to try it out and see where it went. Engraving this case was my 3rd engraving project since then and a good exercise for a certain future piece I’m planning.

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4 years ago 8

Last week I took a few days off engraving my new porcelain doll codenamed: ‘Madman P‘, to finally finish making a resin doll prize for this year’s winner of my annual Birthday Contest. It was a welcome change for my engraving hand and my routine after a few months of doing basically the same thing. Even art can get boring without variety.
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I had spent oh, maybe 2-3 solid days fighting with all of my mohair to make a wig for this girl. With the drought going on right now, it was so static-y and frizzy….and with the glue drying so wonky, I basically just wanted to set everything on fire in my bathtub and watch it burn. But, as usual, it all worked out in the end. Can’t make a good doll without a good struggle, and this doll turned out extra-good! Stay tuned for more pictures next week.

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4 years, 5 months ago 19

 

 

Here is part two of “Cinderella Comes Together“, a behind the scenes look at the Cinderella doll being put together. Part one started with the doll being strung, and part two moves on to the other elements of the doll (Stand, dress, wig). Part three will be posted later this week.

What’s your favourite shot so far (from either part)?

Be sure to watch it in HD on the Vimeo page.

4 years, 5 months ago 11

You guys! Yesterday I had a very long and productive photoshoot with my newest doll Cinderella, who as you already know, is going up for an annual Enchanted Doll ebay auction in just a few hours! In the afternoon I’ll be posting her final studio pictures and releasing the second part of the three-part Cinderella creation film. So stay tuned for all these exciting things happening today, and in the meantime enjoy some of last night’s snapshots from the set!
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4 years, 6 months ago 31

 

I’ve got a little surprise for your folks. While I’ve been busy making Cinderella, Chad has been busy making a film of me making Cinderella! This special little doll, as you might have heard, is going up for an annual ebay auction on January 24th-31st! Please enjoy this part one of the three part series of short films about the creation of this doll, and stay tuned for the second!

You  can view the video in HD on Vimeo

 

4 years, 7 months ago 9

Hey hey friends! The Cinderella porcelain doll ebay auction is fast approacheth! I haven’t finalized the date yet, but it will be announced as soon as I complete the doll next week. Eee! Here’s what I’m working on today. It’s Cinderella’s last accessory for her big ball.

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It’s that noseless Venetian Mask that I’ve wanted to make for, oh, this whole last year. It seems fitting that Cinderella should wear one, don’t you think? She is attending a festive masquerade after all. Also I’m in a major festive spirit myself, even though Vancouver holiday season means lots of oppressive greyness and rain, rain, rain. And then some more rain. And then when you think that it can’t possibly keep raining and raining like this….it does. And does. And does some more. While I long for snow, snow, snow! Sometimes I wonder if costal climate is right for me…I guess you can get a girl out of Siberia, but you can’t get Siberia out of a girl. But I digress.

K, going back to work now. Stay tuned for more progress shots.

4 years, 7 months ago 9

So, as you guys know there is an annual ebay auction of a porcelain doll coming up in a few weeks. You may also know that this year’s auction doll is a limited edition Cinderella #2 of 3 pieces. And these special, one of a kind shoes are a part of her costume set. I only made 3 pairs – one for each Cinderella.
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They are a variation of my Extravagance design, but with an added decorative lace motif on the toe box to achieve a more distinct high Rococo aesthetic. Today I will be putting final touches on her dress and playing around with her collar. I might add something extra to it too. Stay tuned for more pictures. Cinderella is going into its final manufacturing stage! Auction date will be announced soon.

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4 years, 8 months ago 10

I do love to bead me some lace!

But I hate it when this happens!