About the Dolls
My dolls are meant to portray toys in 1/12th scale settings, however, they also work as figures of young children in 1/24th scale--as they are approximately 1 1/2" tall. The smallest at just 1" tall is an adorable baby doll.
They are intricately detailed, with jointed arms and legs Llimited edition dolls in my range also have swivel heads and real glass eyes! Absolutely no shortcuts are taken in their creation as I firmly believe that dolls house children deserve "real" dolls to play with too!
These tiny toy dolls take many hours to complete, beginning life as a few thimblefuls of liquid porcelain slip and undergoing a magical metamorphosis to emerge as a finished miniature work of art.
My range is constantly evolving and many weeks are spent in research and development both for the dolls themselves and their various costume styles.
In terms of the technical challenges, I have had to develop new techniques and design and engineer tailor-made miniature tools to perform the delicate tasks involved in creating these tiny dolls.
The latest edition has real glass eyes which measure just 2mm in diameter! This presents a real challenge. Imagine trying to work inside a head cavity no bigger than a pea, manipulating tiny eyes only slightly larger than a mustard seed!
Cutting the minute eye holes requires surgical precision. Indeed I use a specialist ophthalmic scalpel, whose tiny, incredibly sharp blade in conjunction with a powerful magnifying lamp, enable me to excise the eyes with pinpoint accuracy.
After a low-temperature firing to produce a stronger, non-soluble ceramic casting, the inside of the eyes have to be bevelled to the exact size and shape of the glass eyes, so that they will fit snugly into the eye sockets. Again I have had to create my own specialist tools to achieve this technical feat.
At this stage the seam lines are carefully smoothed away and the casting is checked thoroughly to ensure it is perfect.
Next comes the high temperature bisque firing, during which the fragile, chalky casting is vitrified into flesh-coloured porcelain. This firing reduces the size of each piece of porcelain by up to one third. The resulting gritty porcelain is then carefully polished to a smooth, blemish-free finish.
Now the dolls begin to come to life, as they undergo the first of several china paint firings for cheeks, lips, eyes, eyelashes and eyebrows. If the eyes are to be painted, I select from a range of colours including shades of blue, grey, green, brown, violet, grey-blue, grey-green and hazel. As the paints are china fired, the colours are permanent - they will never flake or rub off.
After the final paint firing, each piece is checked again, before the dolls are carefully strung to allow movement.
Apart from the technical difficulties involved in creating the porcelain dolls themselves, designing the tiny costumes also requires much time and careful research.
I use only the finest silks and cottons, including delicate silk trims and soft, pure silk ribbons. In order to achieve just the right, mellow antique shades I often hand dye silks, ribbons, trimmings and lace so that costumes will be fully coordinated. I also have a boxful of wonderful antique lace and trimmings, some of which date back to the 1890s which are used for the most special little dolls.
The attention to detail is continued throughout the entire costuming process. For example, dolls are fitted with silk underwear - a tiny chemise and silky trimmed pants or drawers. They wear either tiny, delicate lace socks, or the softest silk net stockings, often dyed to match their outfits.
Shoes or boots are made from tissue-thin leather, or silk ribbon, according to style, and may be decorated with tiny buckles or minute ribbon rosettes.
The costumes themselves are painstakingly researched from original sources and images depicting dolls from the heyday of porcelain dollmaking including Jumeau, Steiner and Bru.
Pure silk ribbons are hand-pleated to create dainty skirts and dresses, jackets are made from up to 7 individual pieces, just like the real thing, and everything is hand sewn.
Authentic wigs are made from the finest viscose to give a soft sheen to the tiny ringlets and curls.
Finishing touches include beribboned bonnets in a variety of styles, elaborately decorated with feathers and bows.
When the final silk bow has been added, each doll is nestled in its own bespoke tissue-lined box and issued with a numbered, dated and signed certificate, which also includes a colour photograph of your very own, very special, little toy dolls doll. I retain careful notes of all the doll and costume details and a photograph of each doll I create so I can guarantee that no two are ever exactly alike.
Special commissions are very welcome. If you want a special doll for your dolls house child, in specific colours or style, or you wish to have a small scale copy of your full-sized antique doll then I am happy to discuss your requirements. Please use the email contact form in the first instance.