Archive

Mask Making

Over several month I have been working on a new ‘Arlecchino mask, breaking away from traditional representations in a search for a  more mature, tricksterish and altogether joyous character. Initial drawings to find some sort of ‘Essence’.

Progression was made in the clay design with several changes of direction, which retained elements of tradition but with a greater emphasis on asymmetry and uplift.

Experimenting with a lighter paint scene in order better see the sculpture.

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From initial research drawings, through clay sculpture, to mould making ready for      casting in paper.                Once out of the mould ,I experiment with paint finishes.            One  is prepared with a solid colour as a base coat and the other  I use the paint                as  a stain directly  onto the brown paper .

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Her mantra is ‘I have a secret’.

Next  I have to try the mask out on a performer.

May 18th & 19th.  For these two day I had a table full of masks at The Poppy and Pint.

Lots of lovely conversations about masks and peoples experiences of them, some performers but mainly from the point of view of witnesses of transformative events. The Venice Carnival came up a lot. Each day at lunchtime I did a walkabout through the main streets enjoying the public reactions to The Old Lady with her Boy in her Basket.  Many people up for engaging with her and asking her questions she can answer by nodding yes or no. Some children had fun pretending to be frightened of her, but as they kept coming back for more they made their game clear.

Following the British Museum Exhibition of Scythian Art and Artefacts  which I saw in 2017, I have been meaning to apply some of that inspiration to my mask work.  I was particularly drawn to the painted funerary masks from the Oglakhty burial site. These extraordinary objects are still attached to the skulls of the individuals  for whom they were made.  The originals are made of gypsum. The mask of the woman, which is somewhat better preserved, has remained in my consciousness as an inspiration.              I recently made a cast of an existing mask of a woman and then realised that there were some similarities between my mask and the Oglakhty mask. I have therefor tried to replicate the painted design from the ancient Scythian mask onto my contemporary version. They are not the same, my mask has the eyes open and the forehead finishes at a hairline rather than lapping over the cranium.  The overall proportions are not quite the same.

I have had to improvise and make up details which I cannot see in the source images, especially as some area’s have been damaged.        Painting this has given me a greater respect for the Scythian creators and their skill in making the original.  I have at present left the paining in this bold state, rather than distress the paint-job to beautify and make it more acceptable to modern audiences.  My instinct is to do some subtle shading to enhance the modelling and I am not sure I like my eye lid painting so I think that I will repaint them in the white. I have enjoyed the asymmetry of the design and applying it over the nearly symmetrical face.   There is a hypothesis that the painting replicates a tattoo .

Is this character an Amazon, an ancient feminine warrior ?    Certainly my original mask was intended to represent the strong mature woman.             This being my version of the Artemis archetype  (The Huntress).

3RD SPACE Studios Exhibition opening event this evening at 6.00 p.m.

Tope Floor of Surface Gallery upto and including  Saturday 11th May

Celebrating our ten years of existence and the ten artists who are current members.

This evening Stephen Jon and his crew shall be performing as ‘The Critics’ and later  he will be adding another layer to the large charcoal drawing.

Join him for a Charcoal Drawing workshop next Wednesday  2.00 till 4.00 p.m.

Making ready for the forthcoming exhibition at Surface Gallery and exploring different ways of hanging drawings and sculptures, with regards to the probability that they will get splashed.  Lots of fun flinging dirty water about.  Studio floor a delightful mess now.

 

 

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When the Clown meets the Mask ????                           ‘PLAY” taking pleasure in an activity.

Saturday 23rd March 2019  at ‘Playworks’ Nottingham

Angela Hayes and Amanda Scofield, who are ‘the red herrings’   joined me, Stephen Jon Mask-Maker to play and share skills and experiences. This is continuing action research into the links between Comedy,  Clown and Mask.  We invited 11 associates from the physical theatre world to join us in this exploration.                                                               We payed specific  reference to:                                                                                                Safety and Play: our professionalism and experience makes us safe.    The mask and noses contribute by defining the ritualised space/ the play space/ the safe space /the theatrical space, where anything can happen.                                                                                                          Ensemble: The Individual and the Herd. Looking at how we establish and maintain trust and awareness of our co-conspirators. So much pleasure in playing in a gang.      Character and non-naturalistic theatre. A magnifying glass onto real /authentic expressions of relationships and emotion.

Release        Access         Pleasure         Improvisation           Visceral         Transgress

Clown           Mask            Play                 Embodiment             Naivety           Freedom

Some of the masks, we used. Noses, Quarter Masks, Half Masks and Full Face Masks

We want to do more of this ……..  What will come next ?  …….