When I initially started experimenting with wax around 2009-10, it was pretty difficult to find anything on an actual detailed process that was used in creating anatomical models and wax relief portraiture in the 17th century. The only references I could find, that were not in Italian, were contained in the really fascinating articles Joanna Ebenstein was putting out on her website Morbid Anatomy based on her research and travels, and a few references in books written on Anna Maria Grosholtz's (Madame Tussaud) work prior to and during the French revolution for her "Salon de Cire" in Paris. There were of course, general references to materials but nothing about temperatures, mold releasing, reinforcing, the moods of beeswax etc..I took little bits of information here and there, wherever I could find them, continually experimented and eventually started to rely upon a process based on trial and error..I can't think of anything really comparable to working with wax, and beeswax in particular. It has a beautiful warm translucence after it's polished that makes it really unique.
I usually start any sculpture with clay. Because I have a background in ceramic sculpture, I just really prefer water based clays. After I've roughed out a form, I create a plaster mold from that, and then cast the sculpture in beeswax. After I pull the piece from the plaster mold, I carve in the details with fine carving tools, polish, paint it in oils or wax based pigments that I create by hand. Sometimes I add gold leaf , wax dipped laces or velvets.
I like to compile little time lapse videos of the process from start to finish. Be sure to un-mute each video for musical accompaniment!