Shadow of a Mouse exhibition progress

A while ago, I promised my friend Louise to be part of a group exhibition with some of the other animation lecturers and postgraduate students. I’m really enjoying getting back into my ceramic studio and having the creative freedom which academia tends to suck out of you.

Ceramic Chinese doll

I haven’t actually touched clay for at least six years so I was a bit nervous. After a month of experimenting with different clays and hand building techniques, I worked out the right way to construct my Chinese doll.

I wanted to use porcelain for its smooth finish but it did not handle the firing. If you look closely, you can see a pressure crack at the base. There’s a matching crack on her side. It looks as if while the clay was shrinking, it stuck to the base of the kiln. I’ll need to put more alumina down to help the clay ‘slide’ across the kiln base as it shrinks. I’ve been also advised to try earthenware hand building clay which isn’t part of my original vision but is probably the best way to go as it is not as temperamental as porcelain.

Ceramic French dollCeramic French doll front










I am in the middle of building the next piece in the series – a French doll. I’m not sure how to decorate the surface. One option I am toying with is to smooth the hair completely and use the Chinese style decos on the hair (the same patterns that appear on the Chinese doll’s dress). Would this be weird? The other option is to set her hair in elaborate curls (think Kirsten Dunst in Marie Antoinette) and use a clear glaze on the hair and use the Chinese style decos on her dress. Any suggestions?


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