Primary materials: Paper napkins, glue, acrylic paint.
Every time I make a mask it’s an experiment to a greater or lesser degree. Here are the things I did for the first time on this mask:
1. Made a form using clay.
2. Made my own papier-mache out of napkins.
3. Put slots in the rim of the mask to hold the straps.
4. Made straps that involved sewing by hand and machine.
5. Used a new type of plastic mesh for the eyes, instead of sheer cloth.
I started by making an aluminum-foil impression of my face, and then covering it with tape, and filling it in with paper. I used this as the base to sculpt on with some really old polymer clays.
This wasn’t optimal. The base beneath the clay needs to be solid, and this was squishy. I didn’t have enough clay to do anything more than cover it in a thin layer. And I don’t think polymer clay is the right substance for this application. But often you can still make something neat even when the materials are not all perfect. I want to do more with clay in the future.
I ground up paper napkins and mixed them with glue. This makes a hard, light papier-mache that is strong even when quite thin, and has a tiny bit of flexibility which keeps it from being brittle. I like this homemade stuff more than the stiffer commercial papier-mache I used before.
Application onto the clay form went pretty quickly. Once the mache dried I sanded it a little with a random-orbital sander, and used a rotary tool to take off some rough edges. I left most of the mache’s natural texture. It would have taken a lot of sanding to get rid of, which I wasn’t interested in doing for this experiment anyway, and in the end I think it adds some interesting character.
The holes in the mouth were not originally planned. I put those in after holding the mask up to my face for a little while and realizing that it needed some sort of ventilation to be wearable.
Painting this took a while. I generally knew where I wanted to go, but hadn’t done a “toned-down metal” paint scheme before, so I ended up putting on several unnecessary layers.
I’ve wanted to make a mask with a stripe across one eye for a couple of years now. I kept not doing it for one reason or another. This one seemed perfect for it and I like how it turned out.