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FW: Period mask-making (sources?)
Poster: "Mohajerin, Leila" <email@example.com>
> From: Mohajerin, Leila
> Sent: Thursday, December 24, 1998 9:35 AM
> To: 'Ryan W Snead'
> Subject: RE: Period mask-making (sources?)
> Leather, wood, and ceramics are some of the oldest materials that
> masks are made from. They, however, probably take more time than you
> have between now and January. Paper mache is also an authentic
> medium, and you can find directions for making things in most
> children's activity books.
> Another material was fabric. Sized fabric can retain a shape and be
> relatively comfortable and durable. Fabric is quick.
> For a modern method of making these age old masks, you will need:
> Fabric (almost any will do...felt works best because it will stretch
> in any direction, and is therefore easier to contour to a human
> face....noses in particular are hard to do.) I would not
> recommend polyesters since, besides not being period, they don't
> seem to bind well with the sizing. Another thing to be wary of,
> fabrics with a nap or fur. Since you are emursing the fabric
> in glue, the nap or fur will become all matted and icky. It is
> better to make a base of a different fabric, and then cover it with
> the plush fabric or fur by sewing or gluing on the underside only.
> Glue...Water soluble is the easiest to use, however, if you sweat
> proficiently, your mask will start to get soggy and loose shape.
> Elmers white glue and wood glues are good. Another solution I
> have used are the fabric stiffeners, such as Aileen's, that are
> found in fabric store craft sections. The glue must be able to
> permeate the fabric, so most acrylic, spray or gel glues absolutely
> will not work. You also will have this on your face and around
> your nose, so do not use anything that gives off fumes. Even when
> dry, I have known people to become discomforted by fumes
> from glues in masks.
> A mold...Do NOT try to put it on a living face! You can build
> up a mold from modeling clay, carve it from wood....or buy a head
> form from a beauty supply shop (I think they cost around $2-3's).
> The styrofoam heads have kind of small delicate faces, so you
> still might want to pad them up a bit. There is some
> flexibility with them masks when they are done, so you might be
> Some alluminum foil.
> straight pins, or T pins
> Here is what you do:
> First of all, decide what you want your mask to look like. For masque
> balls and performances, 1/2 masks were quite popular since they were
> cooler to wear, and easier to speak and be heard from.
> Prepare the head- Get it the shape you want it. Often it helps to
> only have the front half of the head, with a flat back, so that it
> will lie face up. If using the styrofoam, you can chop off the back
> 1/4 of the head. Make the face the shape you need to fit YOUR face (if
> your mask is vastly different in facial structure than yours, you will
> do that on the outside, not the inside...it needs to fit close to your
> face to stay on and feel comfortable)
> Cover the head with the foil. You should tape the ends down in back
> so that it does not shift while you are working.
> Soak fabric in glue (or fabric stiffener) until it is thoroughly
> Place the fabric onto the form.
> Start smoothing out the fabric onto the form. Begin with the nose and
> work up toward the brow and then into the eyes. You will be cutting
> out the eye holes later, so extra lumps over the eyes are not a
> Once the whole thing is smoothed over, let it dry. I have used an oven
> on a very low temp, when I was in a hurry and the air was so humid,
> nothing was drying. You could also use a hairdryer. Caution should
> be used with both of these since the fabric could scorch or burn or
> If you have thin fabric, satin or such, you should paint another coat
> of glue on the dry face and let that dry again.
> Now, carefully peel up the mask. You can remove the whole thing, mask
> and foil from the head, and then peel the foil out of the interior of
> the mask.
> You should carefully, lightly paint with glue on the inside to help
> seal fabric from your perspiration.
> Let dry again.
> Now you can decorate the mask in any way you like.
> Places to get inspirations are pictures of theater and theater history
> books. Ancient Greek, Comedia del Arte, the Miracle plays, and
> Elizabethan Theatre (Inago Jones). But, people were as creative then
> as now, and just about anything went, depending on the desired effect.
> Hope this helps or inspires.
> Sveva la Lucciola
> From: Ryan W Snead[SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Reply To: Ryan W Snead
> Sent: Thursday, December 24, 1998 8:36 AM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Period mask-making (sources?)
> Poster: Ryan W Snead <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Greetings gentles!
> I hope this message finds you in good spirits as snow and ice cloathe
> faire lands in delicate lace during this festive season.
> I plan to attend a masqued ball in Janurary, and I am seeking
> on what materials and styles would be considered period for masks.
> (although I am sure I could make several uneducated guesses!)
> Given my limited time and resources, I am looking more for ideas
> pictures) and basic know-how than documentability. Any thoughts?
> Stay warm, and watch for snowballs from the North!
> _ - _ - (O)
> William of Rencester
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