BISQUE FIRED: Carole Williams with limbs from a porcelain doll ready to be assembled.
BISQUE FIRED: Carole Williams with limbs from a porcelain doll ready to be assembled. Mike Knott BUN030119DOL1

Dressmaker turned doll creator: Her craft is no child's play

WHEN Carole Williams attended her first porcelain doll making class in 2002 she never wanted to paint another doll.

But now the master doll maker has an award of excellence under her belt and is passing on her unique talent.

The Burnett Heads woman began as a dressmaker - a passion passed down by her grandmother, a tailor, from the age of seven.

Ms Williams had since developed her own techniques in the craft, and had originally set out to simply dress the dolls.

"But I needed something to dress, so I had to learn, and now I'm addicted to them," she said.

She pours each doll from one of the 600 moulds in her workshop, lets them dry and then cleans and fires the doll in the kiln before a final clean prior to painting.

"It might sound strange, but the dolls tell you how they want to look," Ms Williams said.

"Painting the eyes can take up to 10 firings in the kiln to get the right colour and effect."

Doll making is an incredibly involved and individualised creative process with Ms Williams showing her dolls at many conventions to get to the level she's at.

The Doll Artisan Guild member attended numerous workshops and classes achieving certificates in both antique and modern porcelain doll making.

"You've got to get so many points out of 100," she said.

"Most of my dolls are over 90 out of 100, and some have achieved 98.

"Over time it seems like I've got pretty good at it."

The dolls are very special to Ms Williams who said while her higher scoring dolls would be very difficult to let go of, she would sell them for the right price.

"The ones that have scored 98 I would want about $1000 for," she said.

With some original antique dolls fetching $40,000, there's certainly money to be made.

Ms Williams hosts doll making lessons for those who would like to try their hand at the craft.

Those interested can usually build themselves a doll over 10 lessons, and at $10 a class, it's a much cheaper way to get your hands on your own porcelain princess.

For more information contact Carole on 4159 5561.



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