Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and Wendy Mullen

Imagine a life where a business trip involves going to France and Germany and perusing chocolate shops and antique stores!  It really is true that if you follow your dreams you never know where they may lead.   I can't even tell you how many times I've been on the website . I've admired the molds for sale, looked at every link to artists who use the molds for chalkware, paper mache-- even chocolate!  But I never knew the person behind the site.  Wendy Kolar-Mullen is the author of 3 books, two on chocolate molds and one on candy containers.  She is a collector and businesswoman, wife and mother to 5 children.   I wanted to know when she came across her first mold and somehow turned it into such a unique and intriguing business.  In her words-"I first started collecting 22 years ago. I was decorating cakes and in a cake supply store in San Jose--looked up on the top shelf and saw my first chocolate molds!

Immediately-I loved them..asked the owner--he said if you ever see one buy it--they are very hard to find especially here on the West Coast!

This was before ebay of course

So, I scoured flea markets, antique stores--called every store in the phone book. At that time few people knew what they were--they could only identify the heavy duty cast iron cake molds--very frustrating!

After a year of searching, I was at my local antiques barn in the country and there I saw a hinged group of 4 bunnies on the wall--$45 about lost my mind!! Still have the mold and love it!

I started finding more and then with ebay -made a friend and - we bought a large collection from Belgium--I had so many unique molds I started photographing them and decided to write my first book. Then of course I had more info and more photos and did the second book--the third book was on Antique Candy Containers-- inspired by beautiful plaster type molds used to make the containers--

I had the good fortune to meet the Great Great Granddaughter of mold maker Anton Reiche and learned so much about the mold making process and history from her--she showed me around Dresden, Germany where the Anton Reiche factory once operated --it was very special. I also collect the chocolate mold catalogues and have done much research and identfication of the molds that way.

Chocolate Molds are magic...they are versatile--I am still as thrilled by molds today as I was 22 years ago! My favorite are German Bunnies and Santa's--

I have used my molds for chalkware, papier mache, soap, candles and of course chocolate--most of the time however, they are on display!!"
  I've included pictures of two of her favorite molds, a gentleman rabbit and a very unique Santa holding a child.  The last photo is of her latest book on antique candy containers. It's full of beautiful pictures that are just inspiring to me.  I'd like to drop everything I'm doing and learn how to make these.  But it's more than just pretty pictures, there's also a history of the largest manufacturers and the artisans who decorated them.  There are even photos of a house made of the discarded molds used in place of bricks.

Her two books on chocolate molds are absolutely indispensable not just to the collector of molds, but to those who make paper mache or chalkware Santas and Easter rabbits.  Which mold is rare, how much is this worth, what does the number imprinted on the side mean?  All these are answered in her books, The Complete Guide to Chocolate Molds and Collector's Guide to Chocolate Molds.  
   And I'll be returning again and again to her site looking for that special Santa or bunny and perhaps your interest is piqued enough that you will be there too.

1 comment:

  1. oh, I have a few molds myself and just love them and drool over the fabulous big you make rabbits and Santas in chalkware?! hmm.. we gotta meet some day Ha!