|Heart Awareness Month, Max & Keira's Law|
Although my overall intention is to provide an educational and positive doll for children suffering with heart conditions, time constraints have meant that I have focused specifically on creating a doll that will have an interchangeable heart that illustrates heart transplantation or heart improvement through medical management. Practically, I have been very fortunate to have had the help of Ben Diamond, AUB Technician Demonstrator. Without him, I think I would have struggled to get to the place that I am currently. So, what have I achieved so far? I designed my first doll, based on some heroic poses of my son.
|Doll designs. Image credit: Fiona McTaggart|
I then modelled him from polymer clay. This medium is very appropriate for this project as it is made from a plastic PVC base and perfectly suits my intentions for casting in resin. This was the first time I had used this product and initially I found it easy to model, however it soon became too soft and difficult to keep its form, especially when I attached the torso to the legs. A few YouTube videos later and I learnt that you can harden it in the freezer for a short while, to prevent it becoming too soft to work with. I completed my figure and made a small anatomical heart to insert into the heart-shaped space I had created in the torso. Unfortunately, I did this a bit too big so will have to consider this in my next, and final design.
|Polymer clay figure. Image credit: Fiona McTaggart|
Once baked and hardened in the oven, I made my silicone mould (another rubberlike plastic medium) and utilised the expertise and resources of the model-making workshop to cast my model in resin. This is quite technical, and I hadn’t anticipated this being the most difficult aspect of the project.
|Silicone mould. Image credit: Fiona McTaggart|
My first attempt resulted in a resin figure filled with bubbles and unevenly dispersed colour resin powder. The heart was ok but still contained some bubbles. On Ben’s advice, I decided to use a slower setting resin that would allow time for the bubbles to rise and disappear. This did work much better although, with the bubbles disappearing, the resin sunk, and the feet of the figure were not filled fully. Despite this, the quality of the resin was much better, and I now feel confident to create a new design and figure. I might simplify the design and also refrain from using an iridescent resin powder, preferring the clarity of a colour tint instead. I also intend to simplify the facial features as the detail was not so effective in resin. I hope that the translucent figure will complement the more opaque heart/s and intend to use magnets to make these interchangeable. My intention would be for this doll to be placed by a child’s bedside, perhaps with a table lamp lighting up the figure and projecting a sense of hope at a time of uncertainty.
|Resin figures. Image credit: Fiona McTaggart|
|Hearts. Image credit: Fiona McTaggart|
Fiona McTaggart, Student Creative