How I made the Rococo wig

9 years, 11 months ago 34

It took me almost 3 full days to make the tall, Rococo wig for the Little Aristocrat Lily doll. The doll, which will be auctioned off on Ebay on Dec 27th. Here is the general idea of the process.

wig-process

The construction begins with making a wig cap and attaching the padding and supporting infrastructure to it. Then, extra long hair is glued down and it is determined which parts will be going up first. Hair is spread into isolated sections. At this point I sit and look at the doll for a long, long time, visualizing what I want her hair to be and devising a plan of action and steps to make it happen.

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Because a lot of wig-making methods are designed for humans or much larger dolls, I often improvise with various materials and contraptions and find new applications for my kitchen utensils, woodworking, jewelry and porcelain tools. Sometimes the least likely thing will provided the most desired results.

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This wig was probably the most complicated one I’ve made so far. Because it was very sculptural in essence, I had to think of hair and treat it as a sculpting medium, sort of like a lump of wet clay or wax, which you then shape into a form. But now that I think about it, this is how I tend to approach most of my projects. I have a very sculptural frame of mind. After determining where certain locks will go and how many of them I want, I began to pin them up in their approximate locations, keeping in mind the desired size, direction and angle of each curl.

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I used traditional and not-traditional hair styling products to put this hair into shape. Luckily, I have a huge arsenal of all kinds of painting, diluting, thinning, thickening, texturing etc. substances in my possession, which were acquired for various, non-hair related practices. Some are poisonous and others you never ever want to put on your own scalp. But this is porcelain we are talking about, and porcelain to my knowledge is impervious even to acid. Water was one of the main agents in trying to control the vast mane of hair that was required for the wig this size.

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Pinhead. Kind of like this one.

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I hate gore horror. Whenever I watch it, I’m not so much    scared, as I am disturbed and at the same time fascinated by the kind of sick imagination one would need to have to write and film stuff like that. I much prefer ghost horror than blood and guts. But getting back to MY lovely Pinhead-Lily.

Ah, that’s better.

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After a few hours of construction and a night of drying and setting, the curling phase is over and now it’s time to take everything apart in a carefully choreographed order and arrange it in a desirable way. The problem is getting the curls to lay on the head instead of well, curling up. For this I use an experimental method of applying a synthetic, transparent primer to the hair with a brush.

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My concern was the eventual coming apart of the wig. I realized that simple hair spray will simply not be enough. That’s why I went with a much tougher alternative. The primer literally glues hair to itself, making it firm and tough, while maintaining the appearance of hair. By the time I was done, there was more plastic in that wig, than hair. Seriously, the thing is almost bulletproof.

Warning: Do not ever use this on your own hair. Unless you want a permanent hold and the same hair style for the next few years until new hair grows out. Then go ahead.

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Stylin’. She has hair spray and primer all over her face. Once again, because she is porcelain and her face painting is molecularly bonded to the surface of her skin at high temperature, I can for allow all kinds of things to be stuck to her face, knowing that I will easily be able to remove it without removing her entire face. You never want to do this with a resin doll. When the wig was done, the primer was so tough that I had to scrape from her face with a surgical blade and fine sand paper to get it all off. And you would never know it.

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Finished. Drying. Setting. Looking lovely. But still missing something. I had to send Chad to the drug store to buy me some cosmetic powder for her hair. Apparently they don’t really make loose face powder anymore since it’s 2010 and not 1710. All he could find was fancy moose powder and sheer cover and stuff. So, we had to get some Johnson’s baby diaper powder instead. Oh, well-if it’s good for babies then it can’t be bad for my doll.

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Cough, cough, cough! There. Cough, cough, cough. Now she is complete! Cough, cough, cough.

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What? I’ve sat at this desk for how many hours?! 48? You don’t say…..felt like 48 minutes to me.

Was all worth it, as far as I’m concerned.

Thank you and good night.

34 Responses

  1. Marina she is utterly besotting.

    One of my favourite things to read from you is when you talk about the incredible processes you employ to create your beautiful girls and their acessories…. and the ingenious improvisations you dream up :-)

    I couldn’t help but notice the Audrey print in the background of the “pinhead” shot. She had some intricate hairdo’s in this last show of hers as well.

    Lily is incredibly impressive! I think she’d look lovely in our boutique…. :-)

  2. daniseyu says:

    Im so excited to see how you do your processes.you always bring surprises,and i do learn a lot.i admire you as my master,you are awesome ,lol.

    i hope i can share my doll work with you,maybe later in January,but im doing very basic works,hope you like them

    Merry Christmas

  3. Annina says:

    i’m just SO impressed with the work you do, thank you so much for sharing this in-depth information about the making of this wig, a.m.a.z.i.n.g!
    i also want to say how i love the photographic documentation of this process, Lily looks real in all the shots, it’s so precious!

  4. Eiko says:

    WOW!!! That’s amazing. The end result was totally worth it.

    I love the shot of you blowing baby powder on lily.

  5. Amal says:

    Wow, for an aristocrat, she certainly is patient!

    I wish we could see this kind of photos and documentation in your book… for each and every single doll to date!

    Thanks for sharing your secrets with us – it only serves to increase our admiration for your patience and peseverence!

  6. Crystal says:

    I am surprised you didn’t use another doll to make the wig on because of all the chemicals, but you obviously know what your doing.
    The fact that time went so fast for you means you were in”the zone” that magical place of super high artistic concentration. You are so fortunate to have a career that you love that much.
    She’s beautiful.

  7. silvana says:

    You make a beautiful, intrinsicate and difficult job to Lily hair, but you had a cooperative doll, I see, she is so be quiet, for a long time hãn…hehe…admirable for her! But the poor doll is cough,cough, gough…oh my..hehe!!!I like so much how you describe you job art and the final result. Adorable job! Adorable Lily!

  8. Heidy says:

    It’s so lovely!! It’s rare you didn’t find any loose powder in the pharmacy, if you were here, you’ll still find it anyway. But well, I suppose baby powder somehow it’s better, I don’t remember well, but I heard that’s what they used in the 1700’s for powdering the wigs. Or some alike powder. Still, Lily’s marvelous!!

  9. joan says:

    APPLAUSE APPLAUSE APPLAUSE

  10. Ilona says:

    What a wonderful, amazing, time and effort-consuming work, Marina!

    I love when you and Chad work on documenting your marvelous technics and tricks. This is another extremely interesting and precious process recorded for the curious fans of your work, which I love entirely and which I’m very grateful for. I feel like it has taught me quite a lot as well- like the things you told me about making Lolita’s wig. I’ve created a quite messy, curly wig for my Aaricia/Pearl/Yasmin, which I’m happy with, thanks to a little tip I remembered from what you said.

    Incredible work, Marina! You always, always surprise and delight me with your fresh, unexpected, wonderful ideas!

    Ilona xxx

  11. If you published a book documenting the process of making some of your dolls, I’d be first in line to pre-order it.

  12. Lillycat says:

    Really love your work in progress pics :)
    This new girl and this wig are amazing !!

  13. Megan J. says:

    I adore how you’ve got her posed in each photo, makes her appear as though she’s doing it herself!:D

    Gorgeous!!

  14. LindaB says:

    OMG! She takes my breath away! You are an incredibly talented artist! I’m in awe of your work! I want one of your dolls so badly! I do hope you continue making them. :)

    Take care and Happy New Year!

  15. Don P. says:

    I’ve admired your work for a while and it just keeps getting more amazing! I may never be able to afford one for myself, but I can still enjoy seeing the amazing works of art you create.

  16. Priscila says:

    PURE AWESOMENESS – that’s what you and your doll are! Congratulations on such a masterpiece and also on your talent, I was truly flabbergasted!
    I peeped at the auction and she was worth every cent the winner paid for her, I wish I only could have bid on her too!

  17. 血翼天使 says:

    太棒了……佩服!

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