I got got the word today from England that my “Caprice” Holsteiner sculpture’s bone china mold is worn out. No more chinas can be cast from it after the last few pieces on order are made. I know that mold was the one most likely to be done soon, as it is also the oldest and multiple molds were not made. I am letting all my china molds play out and then each edition will be finished forever, but this is still kind of sad for me somehow.
I don’t know how to make ceramics molds, and I’m not that inclined to learn. Horses are especially difficult to master the casting of, I think. I have learned to make molds in urethane rubber of my sculptures for resin casting, and it is pretty difficult. At least those mold pieces are flexible, where the plaster used in ceramics is not! So I never really expected to ever see my sculptures in ceramic.
I have been in love with ceramics my whole life. Especially china horse figurines of course. It was a dream come true when I met Mark Farmer of Alchemy Ceramics, and he told me he could cast my work in fine English bone china. In 2001, “Caprice” was my first sculpture produced in ceramic, and it was such an incredible time for me. I remember vividly holding the first glossy white “Caprice” in my hands, just received from England. I cried!
I went over to England in the fall of 2001 to spend a few days at the Alchemy Studio, to see the casting and painting process. (This was only about 6 weeks after the events of 9/11 changed the world. I felt so brave flying over to England by myself!) While I was there, I had a chance to try my hand at at overglaze chinapainting for the first time, on one of the first Alchemy “Caprice” chinas produced:
I only painted the little dappled areas, and it took me literally hours; chinapainting is that difficult to master! Anthony Thomas, Alchemy’s painter, had to paint all the other areas like the legs, hooves, and eyes, because I couldn’t do the hand-shading with paintbrushes at all! (I still can’t! I have to use the airbrush to paint any kind of blended/shaded large areas of color!)
Fortunately I will have just enough copies of “Caprice” for my personal collection. I sold a few this year thinking there would be more coming, yikes! There are 35 china “Caprice” pieces in existence.