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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Preparing for All Hallows Eve with the essential mask

My mixed media classes have been hard at work. I gave them inspirational choices by brainstorming "alter ego" or "spirit animals". This is a good time to think of our deeper traits and connections. Winter is a time of looking inward. Ironically, an outer mask can be a tool to use in the practice.
Once they sketched out their ideas, (important for me to know what they were hoping to manifest), we built a three dimensional form. First we built armatures out of newspaper, clay and cardboard. I limited each student to the size that would fit on a plastic plate. Storage is an issue here- so I arranged to have the plates housed in a temporasry shed near the maintenance department, on shelves and on the floor. The plate, once removed from the mask, later becomes their paint pallet.

We used old dry cleaning bags for covering the structure and a paste made of flour and water for the paper mache glue. The kids put four layers on, and we kept track by changing the color of the paper. The first layer was newsprint, then torn paper bag (brown) paper, followed by a layer of old green bulletin board paper, and we ended with a layer of white copy paper.
Some kids wore gloves to avoid touching the paste

Removing the mask from the armiture, and priming the inside

the mask and the armiture

trimming and adding color

With the addition of acrylic paint, feathers, fur, and ribbons, I can see that all 22 masks will be works of art! I plan on displaying as many as possible outside of the gym tomorrow when we have a special convocation, and then, I hope the kids grab their own masks as they head off for the weekend.
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