The first step is to select the artist and design. Then the form of clay is created, already in the target scale. Wroclaw dwarfs tend to be 38-40 cm high. But the clay dwarf is just the beginning. It is a model for the gypsum or silicone “negative”.
“If a dwarf has accumulated many items and has a complicated personality, I make a negative separately for the head, hands and body. The idea is to keep as many details as possible” explains Beata Zwolańska-Hołod, maker of more than 100 Wroclaw dwarfs.
Negative are filled with hot wax. Once in this form, the dwarf undergoes solid retouching. Sometimes he needs to have his nose shortened or lengthened, his eyes improved or his smile widened. Then he is prepared for casting in bronze. The artist creates a sculpture in the mixture of the ceramics and fire-resistant plastic clay.
“This is the so-called grog and it looks like clotted cream. The wax form is filled with it. It is a very important stage. The better you do it, the better will be the final cast. Our dwarf will have more character,” says the sculptor.
Such a form goes into the furnace and is baked for 12 hours at a temperature of 666 degrees. Wax from the inside is melted and another negative is made ready for the bronze cast, which is heated up to 1,200 degrees and poured into it. The dwarf gains mass. On average, it weighs 15 kg. When it gets cold, there are some final touches – grinding, sandblasting and patination. After all this, it is ready to appear on the streets of Wroclaw.