Porcelain Charms

Christina Pirnie 2005

   
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Porcelain charms can be used the same way you would use a fancy button or bit of costume jewelry to embellish anything from a jacket lapel, purse closure, needle book cover, to a framed picture showing a vase of silk ribbon flowers. I have used the charms in several different applications and keep coming up with more ideas for their use. These charms can also be beaded and used as jewelry for those who are skilled in that area.

When making some of the charms I pierce them with several holes so that they can be sewn to your quilt or project. These holes don't always have to be just for tack thread, once your imagination kicks in you can further embellish them such as using small flower beads to make a cupid look like she has a wreath of flowers in her hair. The vases are made so that you can stitch your stems right down into the mouth giving the realistic appearance that the flowers are standing in a vase of water.

When making the charms each piece is first poured from slip, (liquid porcelain) into a plaster mold and allowed to dry. Once the piece has solidified it is then removed from the mold, trimmed and pierced with holes. It then goes into the kiln for a soft fire which is about 1300 degrees. Following the first firing and after the pieces cool they are cleaned with tools and soft sand paper sponges. This takes any rough edges off of the piece that were missed in the initial cleaning. After the pieces are cleaned they are put back into the kiln for a high fire. This is when the charm takes on the hard porcelain form. After cooling they can be painted or stenciled and then it is put back in the kiln for a soft fire to set the paint. Each piece typically goes through a total of 4 separate firings before it is finished. For more elaborate paintings a piece can be fired many, many times, each time adding a different dimension to the finished piece.

Here are 4 examples of RR blocks showing how I have used some of my porcelain charms. You will find many other ways to use them yourself. Be sure to send pictures to CQMagOnline showing how you have used the different porcelain charms.

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This piece shows beading through the holes in the porcelain.  
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Silk Ribbon Embroidery, tatting and beading
are used to embellish this example. 
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Jill's Cameo, is a cameo button with a gold filigree
porcelain piece that has beading at the bottom. 
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SRE is used to fill this porcelain basket. 

Christina Pirnie
www.pirnie.org/christina

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