Donna Weaver is a retired sculptor/engraver for the United States Mint, where she worked on many significant projects in circulating and commemorative coinage and Congressional Gold medals. She now employs those skills creating miniature wax portraits like those executed in bas-relief from the mid-18th Century until the popularization of photography in the 1840s.
The finished portrait was mounted on reverse-painted glass, wax-covered plaster, or a sheet of wax and then framed. The artist could then reproduce the portraits in small quantities for the sitter using a plaster mold, but artists also made larger quantities depicting popular heroes.
Adhering to the high sculptural standards of portraiture in the 18th and early 19th Centuries, Weaver re-creates the look, color, and scale of the earlier wax portraits. In beginning a portrait, she refers the art of the time, searching for paintings, drawings, and sculpture of the person to be portrayed.
She divides her time between sculpting wax portraits of historical figures in the studio of her 1836 Indiana home and participating in living history events from Virginia to Indiana. She accepts assignments to re-create two-dimensional art works from the early 19 Century. She is also part of the Mint’s Artistic Infusion program and designs for specific coinage projects.
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