Back to papier mache masks. I’d started to get a little fed up with plasticine as a sculpting material. It was difficult to work with and took forever to create the details that I wanted so I ordered some clay and a couple of airtight containers, and a couple of weekends ago finally found the time to try it out.
What a difference! I can’t imagine how I put up with the plasticine now. Using clay has reminded me how much I used to love working with it at school many many moons ago. It’s so much more agreeable and much easier to smooth. I began by making a cat and devil sculpt:
As you can see, the cat mask was sculpted over the same clay face I used previously. For the devil mask, I pushed the clay into a modroc cast I’d made of that same face:
This essentially replicated the underlying clay face, but in damp, workable clay. I added details and chopped off the lower part of the face, and all this resulted in a much closer fit than the cat mask.
The cat and devil mask popped out of the molds. They need trimming around the eyes and edges, but otherwise it seemed to work brilliantly! The cat mask is based on the traditional cat masks found in Venice. I liked the simple form of them, so didn’t change too much when I made my own.
And finally, I wanted to try something a little more complex, and Cthulhu seemed like the perfect subject (when is he not?). I pondered over how to do the tentacles for some time. The sketch on the far right would no doubt be easiest: a stylised straight tentacle look. But who wants to go for the easiest option? I studied some photos of classical statues with curly beards, then went for it:
The clay Cthulhu sculpt, and the resulting mask as it was this morning; a layer of glue drying so slowly that I had to hold it for the photo otherwise it’d stick itself to my favourite Generic Background paper, and we can’t have that.
In case you can’t tell, I also discovered Instagram. I’m using it to document my mask making trials and errors as I always have my phone nearby while I work and it’s easy enough to snap a work in progress. My camera lives upstairs in a drawer, and sometimes you have to be quick before something dries/runs/sets in the wrong place. See what I’m up to on Instagram.