At this stage I think it is also important to establish some benchmarks that I will be aiming for in terms of quality of finish of my model of Edith Kramer.
Wade Waxworks produces stunning realistic waxworks with a high quality of finish. Their beautiful finish is broadly defined through a high standard of quality in all stages of production – from sculpting to dressing. Due to this, I will be using their models as benchmarks for my head bust of Edith Kramer.
I will be using their models of the elderly due to the age of my subject. I have respect for the accuracy and understanding of anatomy in their models. For instance, their Aa Ji model’s facial features flow well and are very cohesive. They portray the physical characteristics of their subjects such as age etc. in a highly realistic manner – Aa Ji’s cheeks droop to imitate the deteriorating physicality of muscle and fatty tissue over time without seeming forced or out of place, as the anatomy was constructed from a place of understanding underlying facial structures.
Another point I will use as a benchmark from their models, is their emotional representation. Have a look at Amma Ji’s model by Wade Waxworks – even though it is not an overtly expressive head bust, their neutral face still portrays a degree of personality and emotional representation that communicate with the viewer. They do this through careful appreciation of idiosyncratic features of the subject’s face, combined with research on their history and personal character. That is the realism that I am aiming for – a face with personality behind it.
During the moulding and casting process, I will also be paying attention to Wade Waxwork’s handling of the silicon, plaster and wax materials. To reduce clean up in the cast, they make jacket moulds for the silicon which stays in one piece. After the plaster jacket is made, a singular cut is made to the back of the silicon mould that results in a minimal seam line.
Their handling of wax is also something I am aiming for – their wax is tinted to match the base skin tone of their subjects so that there is minimal painting afterwards. I will be using Aa Ji’s model by Wade Waxworks to gauge the tint colour of the wax – I am going for a similar tone of light yellow with a touch of pink in Kramer.
Additionally, I will also be using qualities of the work of Ron Mueck, specifically during the sculpting of the model and the dressing stage. The National Gallery of Victoria explains how ‘his startling manipulations of scale are key to our experience of each work’ which is an element I am planning to represent in my model. Additionally, Mueck also pays special attention to dressing his models in clothing that imitates the full-scale version at whichever scale he chooses. For instance, in his model Two Women, the fabric was chosen and sewed together so that it would not only represent the thread line at half-scale, but also so that it would fall down their bodies in just the right way. As such, I will imitate the clothing of Kramer at half-scale in all ways – sight, touch, and even interaction with weight and gravity.
Moreover, I am looking at Madame Tussaud’s and Wade Waxworks models to understand the benchmarks for the painting of my model. Both maker workshops finish their models with very light layers of oil paint that still allow the translucency of wax to peek through. This helps the realism. I will also be using the specific shades of paint that is normally used in painting of waxwork figures – I will touch on this more in an upcoming post.
Lastly, the presentation – I will be looking to Madame Tussaud and traditional head busts in order to present my model in the most fitting manner. I would like a simple stand that emphasises the informational and representational purposes of the model. I like the way traditional head busts such as the Marble head of an athlete let the viewer have the space to make their own impression of the head by not over-complicating the display. I will aim for this benchmark throughout all the features of the model, such as tucking the clothes into the edges of the bottom of the bust to create a clean look. The Brighton Museum used this tactic quite pleasantly in their facial reconstructions.
Therefore, I am aiming for a delicate but durable, realistically representational benchmark for my model.