Monday, October 20, 2008

Wax Dolls

My ultimate goal is to learn how to make dolls with mixed media, be it clay and cloth or wax over plaster, these characters become very life like.

My sister recently gave me a book on doll collecting, the first two pictures are from the book, specifically from the chapter on wax dolls. I don't find much information on wax construction and wax history so I was delighted to discover a whole chapter on the matter!
There are two kinds of wax dolls, poured and dipped. Poured dolls are the more expensive and the most beautiful. Wax as a medium gives rich, authentically natural skin tones with a translucent quality which cannot be achieved with bisque.
Poured heads are dated from the 18 century to early 19 century. A sculpture would be made, from which a mold would be taken, the wax was poured in the mold, sometimes taking 3 stages to get the right thickness. Lead and carmine was added for color (in fact I read the inventor of the wax doll died young due to lead posioning.) When the wax dried, the molds were removed and the finishing touches added, cut holes for inset eyes,and a slit head for ringlet curls.

Dipped dolls are those with a core, usually made from paper mache'. The body parts are dipped in melted wax thereby limiting the amount of wax. Both doll method had cloth bodies with half limbs made by the same method as the head. Dipped dolls were used on "pumpkin head dolls", those dolls with fancy molded hair.
I show you a somewhat blurry picture of the only wax doll in my collection. I purchased her as is, except over the time, as she sat on my entertainment stand, part of her face/hair fell off. You can see the crack to the right side. I glued the wax to the base and will eventually melt the crack back together. My core is chalk ware, making her a modern wax doll.
As you can tell, she has lower limbs of the same wax over plaster, but her torso is made of a flowered material and stuffed rather tightly. Help me think of appropriate attire for her!
She even has a molded wax necklace! I'm thinking a 60 ish outfit.
Being a soft medium, not too many wax dolls have made it through the decades, alot have melted or been desired by rodents.
I can attest to the frailness of my little lady, look what happened when I put my doll back in the hutch!

She snapped a high heel! C & G Design.

Drop on over to Kat collects, comment on her Pink Saturday for a chance to win some great PINK vintage ware!


tina said...

Dawn, I am so glad you like the book and found it helpful. I love books so I like to share them. Too bad about your doll. Urrr!

Dawn said...

She'll be okay, I can repair her with a empty hot glue gun, need to find the right color crayon tho.

Jean said...

Fasinating post on how they are made. I love the middle doll. DARN RED SOX :(

Dawn said...

Yep, darn it! Watch for my pink post!

lola said...

I enjoyed your post as I learned something about dolls that I did not know. Thanks for the info.