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2402 W Rd
Bennington, VT, 05201
United States

802-447-7072

A behind-the-scenes look at the R. John Wright Dolls Design Studio in Bennington, Vermont. Written by R. John Wright, hear in his own words how the creative design process unfolds and how the world-renowned RJW dolls and animal characters are readied for production. 

News & Updates

A behind-the-scenes look at the R. John Wright Dolls Design Studio in Bennington, Vermont. Written by R. John Wright, hear in his own words how the creative design process unfolds and how the world-renowned RJW dolls and animal characters are readied for production. 

The Scarecrow

John Wright

We're currently working on the Scarecrow from our Wizard of Oz series. The doll is made entirely of wool felt. We've put ball & socket knees and elbows on him which is pretty neat. (We've never done elbows before.)  Here's the interesting part: His face is molded in felt as usual but then we mold a sack over the entire head and tie it at the neck. The sack is made of coarse woven fabric to look like burlap. The face is then hand-painted. So it's exactly like the process the real actor went through to be made up as the Scarecrow! As far as I know, nobody has ever approached these characters in this way.

In addition to the head, the same thing is done on the rest of the doll; there is a complete detailed nude doll under the costume. And the gorgeous felt hands have individual molded fingers that are then covered with removable cotton gloves—just like in the film!

When we do the Lion and Tin Man we will use this same approach. Under that Lion's fur costume will be a complete, articulated molded felt 'actor.' The Lion's face will be molded felt w/shading and inset whiskers and the removable costume will be made of shaded mohair with applied resin claws.

To get the right effect for the Tin Man, we are considering molding his face out of leather (a first for us.) Not completely sure yet but we did an experimental leather face using another mold and it turned out very good. The smooth face will then be made up with silver paint to look just like the Tin Man character in the film. The original Tin Man costume was constructed of buckram and we're thinking that we may do it the same way. Buckram forms the foundation for our dolls' faces and we're quite familiar with it.

Many of these are things we've never done before and they are quite challenging. We're almost done sculpting the Cowardly Lion and Tin Man and will send for molds soon. Super-exciting project! Can't wait to share the images with all of you.