Miniature Porcelain Dolls
Learn about an artist's tiny collectors' pieces — 1-inch porcelain dolls.
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Miniature dolls tend to be very plastic and clunky creatures with very little realism. That is why most miniature collectors don’t use dolls. After 15 years of being a miniature enthusiast herself, Fern Vasi set out to achieve an entirely new dimension in miniature dolls. Her work is realistic, fun and lively while working in the tricky medium of porcelain — all in 1-inch scale.
Vasi usually begins with something that sparks her imagination, an item that conjures up a character in her mind. From there she looks over the generic molds she has to find the right gender and body posture for her creation. She then pours liquid porcelain into those molds, lets them dry slightly, and takes the clay back out.
This is called "tweaking" — taking the item out while the clay is still wet. Vasi then carves the head and body to create the exact character she is looking for. This is a time-consuming process, but not where it ends; she also paints on more liquid porcelain to add features where the mold did not provide any.
The carving takes clay away where needed. Both processes are used for head, body, hands and feet.The blank body is then put into the kiln to make the porcelain rock hard. Then it is time to really bring this person to life. She uses acrylic paints to give color to the face and sometimes body. Arms and legs are created with fabric-covered wire so they can be posable and will be covered by clothing.
She creates all the clothing for her dolls individually. Vasi isn’t a fan of sewing, so most of her stuff is draped and glued into place — although you would never guess that when you see it. Wigs are used for hair and accessories are added to bring in the realism.
Vasi’s dolls are more than just dolls — they are fine artwork on a small scale. The medium of porcelain gives her characters' skin a realistic translucent look, as well as allowing for much more detail in the faces. Each doll is different, even if she is making several of the same type. They all have their own whimsical personalities and add a new dimension of realism to any miniature enthusiast's collection.
Susan Midlarsky demonstrates how to weave silver jump rings together to form this Byzantine bracelet.