The Birth of Ruby- Greenware Cleaning

10 years ago 32
Posted in: Work in Progress


Soft-fired doll parts have been laid out in front of me for quite some time now and my desk is all set up for cleaning.

Water bucket – check, sanding sponges – check, an assortment of various tools – also check. Still, I sit there, eyeing the parts through squinted eyes like they are my mortal enemies, challenging them to either get the hell out of my sight or clean themselves for once. I catch myself sighing with resignation for the fourth time as I anticipate the mind-numbing repetitiveness and inevitable length of the upcoming cleaning session, pick up a tiny hand and place it in the hot water. I procrastinate some more by watching a stream of air-bubbles emerge from it as sinks and think of how I always start with a hand for some reason. What a creature of habit.


This is the one stage of the doll-making process I really don’t ever look forward to. It’s difficult, draining and worst of all, boring. This is the only stage I would eliminate if I could, and nothing else, but, it’s also the main reason why Enchanted Dolls have such a glowing, silky complexion, so I have to work myself up to it almost every single time. As usual, every cell in my body whines at me about not wanting to do this, and there are times when my discipline disintegrates during a particularly nasty case of Aversiontoworkanitis.

‘Perhaps I should check my email real quick before I start on these parts,’ I think to myself: ‘And then it’s probably a good idea to get a snack. I do feel a little tired. I know it’s only one past noon, but, maybe I’ll just rest my eyes for just a few minutes to get refreshed, or even catch an episode of Dexter….yea, that’s what I’ll do and then, and then I’ll totally start working right away.’

I steal a sly look at the doll parts on the desk, as if I had just outsmarted them, and make my way straight to the bedroom, deciding to skip the email and the snack after all, knowing deep down that I ain’t working today no more.

Tomorrow I will, no doubt regret this self-indulgence and will have to play catch up, but tomorrow is tomorrow. Today I need a nap.


32 Responses

  1. Jayne says:

    I am really enjoying the “Birth of Ruby” and the process, not only manually, but mentally that you go through for each and every doll.
    Thank you :)

  2. MigMig says:

    Marina, I;m waiting for each post in the “Birth of Ruby” series, for some reason these posts are my favourites, perhaps maybe because they show us both Marina the artist and Marina the private person.
    Thank you for sharing

  3. Elke*:. says:

    I LOVE this … and can relate so so much! i hate those tasks that just are just so so tedious that it pains me to even think about getting started… and i procrastinate in *exactly* the same way!

    Absolutely *love* your work! so so amazing!

  4. Kamila says:

    Surely not? You NAP? ;)

    Gather your strenght, wet cleaning is no fun. I tried it a bit and the worst part I found was the water dripping all over me now matter how desperately I tried to stay dry, propping myself up with towels and what-not.

    Anyway, it’ll get done sooner or later and Ruby will have this gorgeous complexion of hers forever…

  5. Amal says:

    I’d do it for you! :D Maybe you start with the little pieces first because then progress picks up momentum more steadily. If you leave the bigger parts until last then they equal a bigger percentage of the doll being done. I imagine they’re also easier. If you left the harder parts for later, you’d probably end up napping again!!

  6. Annina says:

    *loves to read these*
    this post is my favourite so far, i like to hear how you work and that even you procrastinate. :)

  7. Marina have to say I don’t like the computer, never want to touch it, never open it.But now you got me glued to this dam screan waiting, hoping,dreaming,wanting to see your next step. I feel we are waiting for you to give birth.

    J’aime beaucoup se que tu fait……

  8. Maura says:

    So interesting! How long does the cleaning of one doll take you?

  9. Marina says:

    Hours, cleaning of each doll takes hours. Most of the day, sometimes it goes into the second one.

  10. Maura says:

    Oh my! no wonder you were hesitant to start working on this step! Hoperfully you were able to rest and recharge for today’s hard work. :)

  11. Annina says:

    coming back to look at the photos, and i would really like to touch the porcelain like this and see how it feels.
    i think i could find this task quite enjoyable.

  12. Marina says:

    Greenware porcelain is quite rough and porous. It’s not that pleasant to touch, I don’t think. When the doll is scrubbed, all that gets dissolved into the water and then sticks to the skin, clogs the pores and feels itchy and unpleasant.
    Everything around you and parts of you get completely soaked and uncomfortable after a while and your hands get cold and pruny from being in the water for hours.
    It’s not very enjoyable no matter which way you look at.

  13. Annina says:

    i guess it looks more “romantic” through the pics than it is, that doesn’t sound so nice.
    does Chad ever assist in that step or do you not allow him to?

  14. well it sounds just awful. Utterly awful… I think you must surely offload this nasty task onto someone…. someone like me :-P
    You could yell at me all you like, tell me the parts aren’t smooth enough, tell me to get my hands and scrubbing devices back into that slimy water… I’ll scrub those little porcelain hands to silky smoothness :-P

  15. Chris says:

    The pictures look more exciting than the task must be. I appreciate that you take the necessary steps to create your luminous beauties…wish there was an easier way!

  16. Annina says:

    if they make that 3d copying machine so it can actually copy in any material…
    (but then how would you protect your rights.. and how would you copy the magic/soul of the dolls)

  17. terri says:

    That tiny hand is exquisite.

  18. Jon Songserm says:

    Umm, My honestly!
    I used to think why it’s so hard to do this! why don’t you make more for us?

    But now, I’m clear and understand how hard to stand the pain and boring in some process you have to stand for! it take more time from you too much for only clone doll by no new creations. It will ruin the Artish.

    I will never blame on you and always respect for your work and your creation becuase you is one of my Idol.

    I have to turn out from wishing one porcelain now, I think I will never touch it,

    anyway waching and read you article about Ruby it make me happy to see my most wanted doll rebirth again.

    and i will waiting to the next process, but please take some rest first!


  19. Ronicat says:

    I’m really enjoying these blog posts! It’s interesting to see the creative process through an emotional viewpoint as well as a technical one.

    I’ve found that whenever I have repetitive, boring work that doesn’t take much thinking (such as crocheting), the best way to get through it is to listen to an audiobook, or music. Sometimes it even makes me look forward to the work. :)

  20. Елена says:

    Марина, Ваши куклы потрясающие, произведения искусств! Вы умница!

  21. Kimmi says:

    I spy Scheherazade…. ;)

  22. Алёна says:

    Здравствуйте, Марина. Я давно слежу за Вашим творчеством и восхищаюсь Вашими работами. Я керамист(в мае защищаю диплом)и мне не совсем понятен этот этап работы(может я не внимательно читала). Фарфор уже обожжен и Вы сейчас шлифуете черепок?

  23. Marina says:


    Scheherezade has been sold a while ago. That’s Vega in a pink kimono you’re spying.

  24. Marina says:

    На снимке я шлифую фарфор обожжённый в первый раз при маленькой температуре.

  25. Алёна says:

    Спасибо за ответ:) Я вдохновлена Вашими созданиями и на диплом хочу заявить тему фарфоровой куклы(надеюсь пропустят), но не работала раньше с этим материалом. Сейчас делаю пробы, но мой фарфор на 1200С т.к. печи слабые:(
    Очень интересно следить за процессом:) Сразу представляю, как я это буду делать

  26. Lidia says:

    It is very difficult and wet way of processing of porcelain. It is possible to do it easier and is more thin.

  27. Kimmi says:

    I thought she had been sold but on my monitor the dress looks red and blue so I was really confused! I thought maybe you had a second one lying around for yourself haha

  28. Christopher says:

    In the third week of surface finishing of a sculpture -with dried and cracking hands, dust mask indentations on my face- and totally relating to this post. It’s nice to here a voice -other than the one in my head- narrating my daily struggle. “Your not crazy- the attention to detail is important; your dedication to the craft will be reworded with sublime creation; your not crazy…”

  29. Teiya says:

    Your article was excellent and eriudte.

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