As the May 7th deadline for the upcoming "Wild Things" show at River Arts Gallery in Damariscotta approached, I consulted my inventory of potential sculpture submission pieces. The piece that jumped out as most appropriate for the theme was a mask that I had done a number of years ago. It featured the face of a character that had a jester-like appearance with wild hair, a broad collar with bells, and large donkey-like ears... and, with a little tweak, would fit the bill.
The original process for making the mask had first involved making a life-mold of my face and then making a plaster cast from that mold. The cast was covered with plastic wrap and then then draped with artificial chamois cloth that had been dipped into a mixture of wheat paste and wood glue (1/5 ratio). Once the chamois dried it was trimmed into the desired shape. I added ears cut from sheets of backed gray felt, then coated the mask and the felt backing with gesso. After attaching the mask to a dowel and sealing the inside of the mask with a thin handmade paper that had pieces of natural grasses imbedded in it, I tinted the face with color and added leather eyebrows and thin strips of leather for the hair. Finally I attached the small bells on wires to grommets I had placed along the edge of the mask collar. Ready for fun and frolic.
In order to show the mask to best advantage at the River Arts show, I wanted to mount it on a stand, but I still wanted to be able to preserve its integrity as a usable mask. To this end, I drilled a hole in the end of the handle so that the mask could be placed on a base for display, but could be easily removed, if so desired. I made a base out from a 6" x 6" x 3" block of sapele wood. I sanded and sealed the base with satin poly and then added a short 1/4" metal rod.
"Midsummer Night's Dream" was now ready for show!