Project Ada

The story of a family heirloom in the making and passing down the flame of creativity to future generations.

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Who Is Ada?

"Spirit of creation that satisfies the artist through fruitful times and hungry nights."

Ada embodies the art lineage that my family never pursued due to stigma in an Eastern family where monetary success is the only considered factor to living a fulfilled life.

Project Ada: For Who?

"If you ever wanted to fire yourself from a publishing house, hand in your design files in Adobe Illustrator. Late. Unpackaged."

Meet Maria

Age: 23
Artistic Endeavor: Pyrography, print making
Family: Single
Occupation: Magazine publisher
Motivations: Staying afloat during job instability
Interests: Photography, taking care of pets

The print making industry isn't looking to strong, in fact, its still a miracle that Maria is hanging on her job with almost no potential future. Luckily, her publishing house is realizing the potential of artistic printmaking- something that saved vinyl records from being obsolete.

Each day after work, she needs a project to keep her busy from self loathing over the business so she recently picked up a hobby in pyrographics from her local community club: Arts for Crafts KW.

With her new hobby, she enjoys making miniature furniture for her tomato garden however she wonders if she can take her skills outside of wood working and carpentry.

Ada's Journey

The plan is that Ada is a forever changing and evolving entity that will be modified, improved or improvised upon representing their generation's interpretation of Ada. The user journey for Ada isn't linear or exponential, rather it focuses on the cycle of breaking, fixing and adding to teach the future about the consequences of creating.

"The cyclical nature of creation places a great importance on not the finished product but the journey that it endures."

Past Attempts

1st Attempt - 2016

TOOLS: Fimo Puppen Polymer Clay

The orange marble color was an accident after baking in a toaster oven on high heat. I stopped working on it for a few years because I needed to hone in on my anatomy skills. Glossing is from several coats of clear nail polish.

2nd Attempt - May 2018

TOOLS: Fimo Puppen Polymer Clay

A more serious approach came during the summer of 2018 when I decided to start where I left off. Unfortunately, it got destroyed from prolong exposure to high heat in the oven :(

3rd Attempt (Ongoing)

TOOLS: DAS Paperclay

Budget is running low at the moment however, I was going to invest in pliable, oven-free clay for efficiency while retaining detail work.

Currently, I've done 3 months of work from the 2nd attempt in 1 month!


Updated Blueprint

This blueprint addresses the flaws of the previous version with improvements in the engineering of joints, anatomy fixes especially in the torso and adding ball joint slit holes.

Initial Blueprint

Blueprint shows color coding for ball joints as well as piece lines, joint balls and indicates hollow space in pieces.

(6/6/18) Doll pieces after baking, fresh out the oven (2nd wave)

2nd Attempt

"FIMO Puppen clay needs perfect temperature and humidity to remain soft- this means that it can already be defective before distribution."

TOOLS: FIMO Puppen Polymer Clay

FIMO Puppen was not the best choice because it was it was stubborn to detailing work and baking took another hour out of my valuable time. Turns out, the clay line was discontinued years ago, no wonder why it's so difficult!


  • Clay was somewhat "cured" from long exposure without use and cracked often when making small details
  • Softening clay from brick hard completely took 1h
  • Model had to be baked in an oven for an hour before more modifications are added upon
  • Toxic fumes and dust particles from sanding is a health hazard

Accidents Happen :(

To this day, I'm not sure if it was a miracle or a tragedy I witnessed when working with the polymer prototype but the doll was left in the oven for too long in high heat (180°C).

Only 2 pieces were somewhat recoverable while the rest were deformed, charred and stank to no recovery or practical use...and the word "somewhat" was used very generously in this situation.

This provided me with 2 choices: give up or start over.

Although destroyed, the left hand still has some appealing charm to it
Recovered head still has severe warping, bloating and charred smell

Rebirth of Ada

TOOLS: DAS Paperclay

Switching to DAS paper clay was at least twice as cheap as investing in polymer clay since it lacks baking properties and are usually made from natural ingredients to air dry (so no toxic fumes, yay!)

Lots of work is needed to be done to replicate the Notre Dame however many steps after the accident have stepped me in the right direction
Doing this clay project also has made me realize how much anatomy errors I've made in the past and I'm currently in the process of trying to find more mistakes to fix!
"Das Paperclay relies on water to harden and manipulate clay infinitely."
2D prototype that is 1:1 to visualize joints working on the side view

Next Steps

Before I finish all my pieces, I aimlessly fired emails at every urethane resin manufacturer, supplier and distributor for advice on which resin, volume and strength in advance.

My To-Do List

  • Make eye pieces to test with prototype doll
  • Finish pieces and check if limbs are even
  • Add logo badge on doll's head
  • Add grey primer on top to protect prototype during casting
  • Purchase gas masks for cast and sanding
  • Buy modelling paste to brush on and smooth clay doll by sanding
  • Purchase hooks for joints
  • Purchase resin and resin dye to cast prototype
  • Purchase silicon mold to take shape and pour resin in
  • Purchase wigs and fabric to create costumes
  • Face up and makeup for the doll
  • Write and publish a book on how to build a doll

Urethane Resin

The doll will be cast in urethane resin for these reasons:

  • Strength for elastic tension and drop proof
  • Able to dye to match skin color rather than try to paint even coat
  • Translucency of polymer clay for skin
  • Durability

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