- Dolls page 3
...bisque can be freshened with a damp cloth and water only. When extremely soiled, wipe with a damp cloth first, then while the bisque is still damp wipe with a bit of diluted spray cleaner on the dampened cloth. Never spray directly on the doll. Go over again with a damp cloth to rinse and let air dry. Mild soap is usually recommended but I find it takes too much water to remove the soap residue. It must all be removed as the soap film will be a collector of future grime. If in doubt about the surface or what to use, do not attempt any cleaning.
People in the business of repairing dolls sometimes get overzealous when they restring the head and limbs. Let them know you will accept a little looser restringing job. The head and limbs need not flop around like a marionette, But they need not be as rigid as a totem pole either. The stress on the neck of a swivel head is tremendous--hairline cracks may appear in the neck area do to the force of the bands. You can help by making sure the head is the right size for the body and is free of hairline cracks before restringing. The
The doll on the left is securely tied to the chair with soft padding behind it. The doll on the right is standing free on a small base so both can be in danger if either doll is bumped.
shoulder, where the head swivels, should be free of any rough spots or edges.
An antique or new bisque doll has just been broken. What is the very first thing you do? Absolutely nothing. The second and third thing should be more of the same. Then evaluate, give out a dose of forgiveness, either to yourself or to whoever did the terrible deed. Take your time to locate a qualified restorer and let them do their magic.
Never grab a glue bottle of any kind and start plopping pieces together as if sunset will find the doll whole again. It won't happen! One has to be calm to cement fragments together properly and, rather like a surgeon, not emotionally involved.
This doll is displayed on a stand that is heavy enough and large enough not to be easily tipped, even on a deep piled carpet.
A PERSONAL VIEW
I am probably sticking my neck out here but I have a pet peeve with the new, and I must add very beautiful bisque dolls. They are dressed and coiffed as if they will never have to have anything done to them in the future. This is not always the case. They have accidents also. When they come to the studio with even a minor break the clothing does not permit the artisan to even to get to the problem, let alone fix it. But fix it we must, so instead of one person it takes two and instead of perhaps of one hour charge, it takes much more. If a breast plate breaks (and this is common) the rigid body prohibits access and I am afraid the force of packing the body into the breast plate sometimes has been part of the problem. I know doll makers are not going to change the way they assemble and clothe their dolls because of this, but is one reason that a so called simple restoration can cost so much.
Used with permission of Contemporary Doll Collector. Published January 2003.