Here I will summarize some of the steps taken to produce my porcelain ball-jointed dolls from scratch. There are 4 main stages of the production, the first being the most laborious and longest, and the last requires knowledge of many different crafts and skills.
First I start by drawing a front and side view of my doll in a blueprint style with clear indications of where each body part will go, and how big each joint will be. I use a lot of mathematical tools to help me draw everything accurately. Then I start to sculpt the doll with air dry clay until I am happy with the location joints and major body parts. Getting down the general shape is a generally quick process at first, but it becomes laborious when refining, and perfecting symmetry. Sculpting the rest of the doll to achieve smoothness, symmetry, and good joint structure usually takes from 9-12 months for each prototype. The hand built prototype will be covered in primer, where all surface imperfections will be sanded and lifted. This will also make the final model waterproof and ready to be submerged in plaster.
2: Mold Making and Casting
After the prototype sculpture is done, it will serve its final purpose, which is to be a negative for the molding process. Each joint and body part will make a separate plaster mold, thus they have to be separated and marked accordingly to avoid undercuts during mold making. After each mold is poured, everything is cleaned. When all the molds are dry I will cast them with my special highly translucent porcelain recipe. For this porcelain, batches with specific skin colours can be produced, but it has to go through testing to determine what percentage of colour is adequate. After pouring the molds the first test doll will be produced. This doll is not painted, it is only to determine mistakes in my molds and to correct any issues with my current execution.
3: Firing and China Painting
Once all the final parts are poured and cleaned,