I have been asked to do a step-by-step demonstration of working with carving wax. As Martha Armstrong-Hand writes on page 55 in her book, Learning To Be A Doll Artist, The actual work is practice, practice and more practice: adding, subtracting and smoothing repeatedly. I am using the spares from the torso for the demonstration. They have already been tacked together with the wax pen. In addition, I built-up and covered one end with scraps of carving wax. I am going to improve the form of the built-up carving wax in this demonstration. As can be seen in the photo on the left, the carving wax build-up is quite rough. The first thing I do is use my paring knife to smooth off some of the rough edges. I also use my paring knife to remove spares, and trim mold flashing. The photo on the right shows the carving wax build-up after I have scraped it with the carving knife. Click on any image to enlarge it.
Next I fill some holes and depressions by melting the wax in the hole or depression with my wax pen, then adding carving wax by melting some scrap pieces of carving wax into the molten wax of the hole or depression. I feel that it is important for the added wax to completely blend with the surface that I am adding carving to. In the photo on the left, I have added carving wax, using my wax pen to melt the wax in the hole, then adding carving wax to the molten wax in the hole. I always add a little more wax than is needed to fill the hole, then I scrape off the excess with my paring knife. The photo on the right shows the surface after the excess carving wax has been scraped off with the paring knife.
After subtracting the carving wax, the next step is to smooth it with sandpaper. Various grades of sandpaper are used, from rough to fine. The first grade of sandpaper that I am using is 60 grit sandpaper. The photo on the left shows the carving wax form, and the 60 grit sandpaper. The photo on the right shows the surface of the form affter being sanded with the 60 grit sandpaper. As you can see, the 60 grit sandpaper leaves many scratches. It also shows where more carving wax needs to be added.
Next I use a piece of 100 grit sandpaper to take out some of the scratches that were left by the 60 grit sandpaper. The photo on the left shows the form with the surface sanded with 60 grit sandpaper, and the 100 grit sandpaper ready to be used. The photo on the right shows the surface after three fourths of it has been sanded with the 100 grit sandpaper. I left one fourth of the surface with the 60 grit sanding marks on it.
Next, the 150 grit sandpaper is used to sand the remaining half of the form. The photo on the left shows the 150 grit sandpaper, ready to be used. The photo on the right shows the half surface of the form that was sanded with the 150 grit sandpaper. It is hard to see in this photo, but the 150 grit half of the surface is smoother, and has smaller scratches than the 100 grit quarter in the lower right of the form. It is really easy to see the difference between the 150 grit half, and the 60 grit quarter in the lower left of the form.
The final grade of sandpaper that I am going to use in this demonstration is the 220 grit sandpaper. I have just started sanding with it in the photo on the left. The photo on the right shows the surface after working on it for a few minutes with the 220 grit sandpaper, then polishing it with a cotton rag. The photo on the right shows the result of sanding with all four grades of sandpaper; starting in the lower left corner, and going counter-clockwise are: 60 grit, 100 grit, 150 grit, and 220 grit.
"The actual work is practice, practice and more practice: adding, subtracting and smoothing repeatedly." -- Martha Armstrong-Hand, Learning To Be A Doll Artist (1999).
Add carving wax to the form using a wax pen, or a similar tool.
Subtract carving wax from the form using a tool that conforms to the surface.
Smooth the carving wax with various grades of sandpaper, from rough to fine.
Martha suggests using curtain rings, or bent electrical wire to help determine the size of the balls and sockets. If the sockets are too big, the ball will fall right through it. Shallow sockets give more range of motion than deep sockets. It is friction and tension that allow the doll to pose.
While I work I listen to Carla Morrison singing "Tu Orgullo" from the album déjenme llorar. The lyrics are so beautiful.
En que momento perdí el control de mis sentimientos cuando decidí aceptar tus secretos En que momento deje de hacerme daño con todo esto cuando dime, que no ves que perdí el conocimiento Y a la locura se metió a mi piel los recuerdos no dejan de volver cuando quiero por fin comprender mis dudas visitan mi fe Que injusto tu orgullo desgarra a mi mundo que injusto tu orgullo desgarra a mi mundo En que momento entregue la suma de todos mis besos y me intercambie por un minuto de su tiempo En que momento vacié mis ganas por su reencuentro cuando dime cuando fue que yo ya ni me acuerdo Por ti yo me quiero arrepentir pero mi pulso ya no tiene ese fin cuando quiero por fin comprender mis dudas visitan mi fe Que injusto tu orgullo desgarra a mi mundo que injusto tu orgullo desgarra a mi mundo
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