The Road to Perfection
Our Production Process
Experience the passion and dedication of our highly skilled team creating heirlooms and future antiques. Every Irish Dresden figurine is entirely handmade in Dromcolliher, no two are exactly alike and each has their own individual charm.
Making the Moulds
Master moulds are made with plaster of Paris from an original model. From these moulds working forms are made. These are filled with liquid clay. Clay consists of Kaolin Quartz Sand and Feldspar and is mixed after our own special recipe.
Filling and Forming
The filler will fill liquid clay into the Plaster of Paris mould. The plaster absorbs the water from the mould making the clay leather hard. The various parts for the figurines are kept on a damp Plaster of Paris plate covered with Plastic to keep the parts moist.
The former cleans all the parts with a soft brush and water. Fingers are separated and as a special detail fingernails are applied to the fingers. Once all the parts are prepared, they are joined together with porcelain slip. Once the joining has dried enough the seam will be cleaned off with brush and water.
Some of our figurines have up to 150 different parts (for instance Grandmother’s Birthday). As soon as the figurine is completely formed it will proceed to its long drying process. Some figurines will stand up to one year to dry (Champagne Party & Family Party) very small items dry for 2 weeks only.
After the long drying process the figurine has its first fire—Biscuit Fire at 900 degree Celsius. This fire takes 24 hours between reaching the temperature and cooling.
After the Biscuit Fire the figurine has to be dressed. Real cotton net lace is used. From the roll of cotton net lace various widths of lace are needed for different designs of figurines. Our Lace cutter sizes the lace (by counting the holes of the net lace) and cuts it into lace strips.
These lace strips are dipped into the porcelain clay. (mixed slightly different than the clay we use in Filling) The Lace Maker takes special care in applying the porcelain to the cotton net lace in order to have the pattern of the lace in the porcelain. This porcelain lace strip is applied to the body of the Biscuit fired figurine with the help of a strong stainless steel needle. Irish Dresden uses several different colours of Porcelain clay for the dresses. The colour of the dress cannot be identified until after the 2nd Fire.
In the second fire – Glaze Fire – the cotton net used to dress the figurine burns away leaving the pattern of the lace in the porcelain.
As soon as the figurine is dressed flowers are applied to the dress. These are hand made from porcelain clay (same ingredients as before, but the is clay more solid). Each rose pedal is hand made separately – 6 Rose pedals to make one Irish Dresden Rose. There may be up to 20 roses.
As soon as the figurines are flowered they are glazed and go to the second fire – The Glaze Fire. (Temperature of 1290 degrees Celsius) This Firing Process takes 96 hours. In the Glaze Fire the figurine shrinks nearly 20%.
After the Glaze Fire the figurines are carefully checked and then hand painted.
The faces are hand painted – eyes – pupil – eyebrows – mouth. The flesh colour is hand painted on the figurine and the rosy cheeks are powdered. Irish Dresden uses ceramic colours. These colours are mixed fresh every day for best results.
Vest and coats have to be hand painted. The man’s coat may need 2 paint fires to achieve the rich colour.
All the designs on our figurines are hand drawn, the floral designs on the dresses are hand drawn and hand painted. Each piece is unique and tells its own history.
Before the last and final fire our Trade Mark (M V & the Crown), the individual name of the figurine plus country of origin is hand written under the base of the figurine.
After painting the figurine travels to it last and final fire – the Paint fire. This Fire reaches a temperature of 800 degrees Celsius – it will take 12 hours and cool for 12 hours. For large Groups as the Champagne Party or Family Party the Fire will reach its temperature only in 24 hours and cools for 60 hours. The slow baking of the large groups will avoid cracking of the Porcelain Groups in the Paintfire. Other figurines may need two paint fires one for gold and one for the colours.
After a tough quality check Irish Dresden figurines have to be packed very carefully. The figurine is wrapped in tissue paper surrounded with “Bubble Wrap”, then carefully put into its box with a caution label (telling you how to unwrap the figurine).