The Ode to Mould-Making

6 years, 6 months ago 20
Posted in: Work in Progress

Mould making is like building three dimensional puzzle pieces. I hhhhhhate making moulds. I hhhhhate it with all my heart! Oh mould-making, how I hate thee, let me count the ways:


photo 1-4

You are dirty. You are messy. You’re repetitive. You’re mind bogglingly tedious. You’re physically strenuous. You’re mentally exhausting. You’re logistically challenging. You’re harmful to the the human respiratory system. You make my studio into a white, sticky, gooey, clingy mess of dry and wet plaster crumbs for days on end. You leave a white trail of yourself where ever I go. You make me clean up after you ever 5 minutes to contain the mess you make, aaaaaand you make me use a bucket of cold, dirty water to do that because you will clog up my plumbing if I flush you.

You hurt my neck and back. You make my hands feel like two dry, scaly reptiles from being coated in plaster and clay from dawn to dusk for two weeks straight, and from washing them hundreds of times each day. You splash on all my clothes and my face and make me involuntarily swallow and inhale you. You feel gross on my skin. You hurt my fingers to the point of bruising and you scratch and cut my dehydrated skin until it bleeds.

I hate you because I really hate messes, and you mould-making, are the biggest mess-making process I can think of! You are so inconvenient! And yet, without you I can’t make dolls. You are a necessary evil. Your complexity annoys me, but it also challenges my technical abilities, stimulates my curiosity and improves my problem-solving skills. You are a problem, and I choose to solve you, over and over and over again, because you are a gateway to my creative freedom and happiness.

You are the opposite of fun and I count down every second to the finish line, but you give me a strange sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. And glee! You make me sweat and cry and bleed right into plaster. You make me laugh maniacally when I succeed and thrust each finished puzzle piece up above me like the Lion King cub. You make me cuddle each completed mold in my arms proudly and coo at it like it’s a precious newborn baby. You make me feel so exhausted at the end of each day, that I can barely stand, but you also make me exhilarated and joyous in anticipation of all the dolls I will make from you.

I really hate you, mould-making, but I also love you. You facilitate beauty. You are the start of many wonderful journeys. You are the beginning of dolls. You are so inconvenient, mold-making, and I can’t live without you!


20 Responses

  1. Karey says:

    I think you covered it all, thank you for saying all the stuff I can’t. I so enjoyed your post
    so grateful I live in Florida where I can do it all outside. I really hate the mess too!

  2. paulina says:

    XDDDD You took the words right out of my mouth!!!!

  3. paulina says:

    Now i see it!!! There is a huge mold on your desk!!! It is for the new big doll that you showed us months ago?

  4. Christianne says:

    With all of that being said….What is your project?……That has got to be Chads toes…Does this mean we can no longer see threw your windows with all of this white puff puff….

  5. Astera says:

    Great post, Marina. This window into your daily life with all the struggles and the physical pain is interesting, revealing of you passion and dedication, and wonderfully inspiring: a reminder that behind every great success there are hours and hours of labor and dull moments. Looking forward to seeing the brand new moulds!

  6. asdfasdf says:

    Nice post Marina, thanks. Christianne: those ain’t boy toes, she’ll do the pedicure when the mess is gone.

  7. Crystal says:

    I am relieved you are not perfect. Every process you have showed till now has been pretty spartan. But you have it all over! GOOD! Some things are just too hard to control, and this is one of them!

  8. Anthony says:

    I feel almost as though I have just read through a poem of love and hate Marina….This passage has truly bought tears to my eyes. Such emotion. Something that you hate so much is so necessary to your creative process. Mould- making must be the most cathartic of all experiences for you my dear, and I for one would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for constantly going through this for the sake of your art and your fans. You are an amazingly splendid human being and please don’t ever change.

  9. Bertha says:

    Poor Marina, at least you let your steam out while everyone is enjoying your end result without knowing the anguish you went through! Bless you!

  10. Christianne says:


  11. schizandra says:

    I loved this post. I laughed out loud at the part about the Lion King cub. :P

  12. Ginie says:

    There is thought for those who might think it’s not much to create , or that it’s just fullfilling fun work …Yes , it is hard work too with some frustrating moments .
    Thanks for sharing Marina …And lots of courage to you !!!

  13. Phoenix says:

    Marina, I just LOVE this post! So many people admire the results of art-making but mostly don’t know how much DIRTY works stand behind it. I am not into doing porcelain-dolls myself so I didn’t know about the mould-making part either but it is great to know it now! It makes me awe your dolls and your work even more :-)
    I wonder if you will ever do a REAL BOOK about HOW to make porcelain dolls! I never found a book that explains that from step 1 to the last step and I am sure you would do a wonderful job! You have also such a great talent to write! It would be bestseller I am sure ;-)

  14. I feel for you, Marina, but at the same time, I am glad that you continue, with the difficult,and not always glamorous work, that is involved in doll making. We wouldn’t be able to enjoy,your Enchanted dolls, if you did not do the messy, dusty and dirty part of, producing these beautiful molds.I just wish,that I could do it!

  15. Laura says:

    Please protect your health, Marina. Wear a NIOSH-approved mask! Please! Yes, they’re uncomfortable, but it’s better than inhaling plaster!

  16. Jayne Wourms says:

    Those are girl’s toes! In fact they are very much like Enchanted doll toes with the second one extending slightly past the big toe.

  17. marina says:

    Hm, Jayne, you’re right. I guess my doll’s toes are inspired by my own feet. Well, that’s artists for ya – we create what we know best. We are our own models.

  18. Yy says:

    Ahaha! I used to never know what mould is, now after reading your post I can see what hardships you go through each time to make such a wondrous doll. And I thought it was all fragile little sculpturing and artistic paint. Seems much more complicated :)

  19. Syaron says:

    Ahhh that evil plaster, so deceptive in its pure white innocence, its latent heat just awaiting the liberation of water to begin the creation of so much beauty! Love it and hate it, yes, in your perfect poetry of words that so aptly describe the foibles of this fickle material!

    When I sculpt my ancient Native America n’s hands I used my own craggy paws. They have seen better days so are a good model for old hands.

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