Saturday, December 27, 2014

Cthulhu Fhtagn! Wick-Thorius Edition.

Over the years we've featured Cthulhu idols crafted from a variety of materials.  Wood, resin, polymer clay, soapstone, pewter, and more have all made an appearance.  This piece from Wick-Thorius is the very first one carved from...soap.  Despite it's humble origins, or perhaps because of them, it's a great example of the primitive-style statuettes I love. 

As an aside, a little Googling revealed this excellent scholarly article on the history of soap carving.   Not surprisingly, it was originally an innovative marketing ploy by Proctor and Gamble to sell more soap, a notoriously low-margin product.  It exploded in popularity in the 20s and 30s, the height of the classic Mythos era.  And there's this...

A small sculpture, carefully carved in ordinary bath soap, was found at the scene, causing police to surmise that the killer had "whiled away his time carving the statue as he waited." This tell tale calling card led detectives to identify their culprit, a so-called mad sculptor, whose earlier exploits had included employment in a waxworks studio in Los Angeles, an apprenticeship to the eminent sculptor Lorado Taft in Chicago, and a brief incarceration in a New York state hospital for the insane.

If that's not a hook for a scenario, I don't know what is.


Raven said...

"... a so-called mad sculptor, whose earlier exploits had included... a brief incarceration in a New York state hospital for the insane."

Not to be confused with "a former toymaker who, in a fit of rage over being fired for creating drastic designs such as babies with buzzsaws for hands, burned down the factory he worked at and was committed to a psychiatric institution."

CoastConFan said...

I liked the article about the soap carving, especially about the person who left them behind at crime scenes. Supposedly John Dillinger escaped from jail using a bar of soap carved into the likeness of a gun, although others say it was a piece of wood. Soap carvings does indeed have a smooth, sleek feeling like some ivory carvings. Thanks for bringing this article to the attention of your readers.

Coal carving is also an avenue for making props. Although an ancient art, the 19th century saw jet (a form of coal) and just plain coal being carved brought to new heights.

Jet and coal carving articles: