Work in Progress — Iridescence

So far this on is just cloth and acrylic paint. I have since trimmed the chin, because it was set in a little to close to make this a comfortable fit.  I believe I will go back and outline the paint in black and they apply some type of top coat. A heavy gloss, most likely. I’d love to hear what y’all think. … AMC

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Mask: Crowned

This lovely thing only need two tiny touches and it will be done. What do you think?

Work in Progress — Greens

This is what I started today. It isn’t dry yet, so I am not sure how the colors will turn out. And, how I feel about the colors will determine how I finish the piece. Also, the top is mulberry paper and I don’t know if it will survive being peeled off the form. So many what ifs…. I can’t wait to see how it will turn out. I love making faces, they are always a surprise.

Mask: Brassy Eyes

Sunday we drove to the next town over, to go to Hobby Lobby, which we’d forgotten is one of the rare stores that closes on Sunday. So we went to Hancock Fabrics instead; there’s no fabric where I live (not even in the Wal-mart). It was a good thing too, they were having a wonderful store wide sale and I came home with all the supplies and inspiration I needed.

I’d sculpted this face to make the Wise Wick mask you can view in my gallery and wanted to try to make another mask on the same mold. Well – it worked, sort of. The general shape came through, but not all the details. That’s okay though — wait until you see all the personality.

This is what the fabric looks like fresh off the mold. I usually wait until I see this to decide what the personality is going to be. The mouth appeared here much larger than it is on the original sculpt and the nose is a lot straighter too.

This is a result of not being pressed tightly enough into the form. I wasn’t disappointed though. This was a face that was going to have CHARACTER!

Lips… I had to start with the lips. Despite the nice heart shape that was present on the fabric, they were flat. So I pulled out the modeling past and the gold paint for some serious diva lips.

Check this out: 

I’d already purchased brassy looking buttons for the eyes and wild ribbon for the hair. All the tones work perfectly together.

When it came time to sew the eyes on things began to unfold a bit. I knew that the shape and ideas had come together too easy; something had to happen. And then, with the eyes in place the structure fell out of the fabric and I might as well have been holding a deflated balloon. It is much harder to put shape back into a face once the trim has been added, but I gave it my best shot. Carefully, I painted the back of the mask with a new coat of fabric stiffener and the re-press it into the mold. I knew that I was going to lose some detail, but I wasn’t sure how much. HOURS later, I popped the thing back out, and to my shock and amazement everything worked.

So what do you think of Brassy Eyes, the diva? (either that or even she’s startled she came back out of the mold alive) I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

All photos copyright Anna Marie Catoir, 2010

The Masterpiece

Last month I took a mask making class at The Art Station in Ponchatoula, LA. My class taught by owner, Kim Howes Zabbia who is an amazing artist and teacher.  Earlier I posted pictures of the “in progress mask,” so now here without further ado is the finished product.

This is the first time I’ve every built a clay mask like this, that was then glazed and fired. Normally, I use air dry clay and form fabric over that. I can’t wait to try this again.

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Mask in Progress (Art Station class)

I’ve been to three mask making sessions at the Art Station and I am pleased with how my piece is turning out. The technique being taught is very different from the way I’ve worked with clay in the past. We finished the doing the sculpt last night, and next week we are going to glaze them. I can’t wait to see how that will turn out.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Each of my fellow classmates masks were very different and very expressive. One lady used pictures of Greek and Roman statuary to inspire her leaf framed face which has a touch of the wise woman about it. The sole gentleman in the class sculpted a Native American head dress to frame his broad masculine face. Another student’s was The Man-in-the-Crescent-Moon, another’s was a large leaf with a face on it, and the last one was also of Native American design. Everyone is having a good time.

The Art Station

I’m taking my first ceramics class. We are making masks, of course.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Earlier this year when I learned how to screen print, we stood around a freezing cold room in a warehouse and worked on salvaged furniture. It was fun and funky and very New Orleans.

The Art Station is in small town Ponchatoula, and from the sound of it not to far off the rail road tracks. The room reminded me of my high school art class, so I sort of nodded when I found out the owner had been a high school teacher. I was afraid that it would be crowded when I saw how many seats were laid out, but it was not. There was a cozy six students and everyone was in a jovial mood. No one was afraid to get their hands dirty or was so befuddled we couldn’t progress as a group.

I was afraid the I was going to fall a sleep when I arrived because it had been an awfully long day, but the mood of the place picked me right back up. And the moment my hands where full of clay, I was even distracted from my head ache.

The instructor asked all why we’d come and I explained that I loved making masks and wanted to learn a new technique. Most of the students there where taking the class to give them something to do or had always been interested in art, but had had little access over the years. I know that is true for many people, but always find it sad. I’ve always been surrounded by art of one variety or another.

The Mask class is four weeks and I can’t wait to go back. Maybe next week our lumps of clay will actually resemble something and I can take some pictures. So far we a nose on a base, which I nearly knocked off when wrapping my mask for the week’s storage.