After making a few masks by applying the papier mache directly onto the sculpt (see previous post) I decided I wanted a way to produce multiple copies of the same design. This’d make it less labour-intensive, quicker, and would save me worrying about ruining hours of work on a mask by getting the decoration wrong. So, back to the research. In Venice, they seemed to create a clay sculpt of their design, then cast it in plaster to create a mold for the papier mache.
Plaster of Paris seems to set in most circumstances (even underwater) so I skipped the clingfilm and poured it straight over a new plasticine sculpt. My suspicions proved correct, and it set with no problems. I can only assume it was the glue component of the papier mache that didn’t like the plasticine in my last post.
The plasticine then peeled out of the mold easily, leaving a smooth surface for the mache.
And there we go! A replicable design. The loose bits of mache need sticking down, the edge trimming, and a smooth layer added on top, but it still takes a fraction of the time the other method did. Still- I’ll use the method from the last post if I want to make a one-off mask, or a more complex design. The more complex the surfaces, the harder it’ll be to get it out of the mold.
Here I experimented with a method for raised gold detailing using replica gold leaf. Think I need some practice. I also tried adding a wash of dark paint and then removing most of it to give an aged appearance and visually deepen the recesses. Again, not satisfactory and will need a good bit of experimentation before I try it on a mask I like!
Here I used the same technique to create the raised lines, but instead of using gold leaf, I picked them out with gold acrylic paint above by just covering the whole area in gold paint, and below by trying to stick to the raised areas, and distressing the rest with another wash of dark paint. I think it makes it look like it’s just been dug up, rather than carefully stored and aged for half a century, but there we go.
All of this was to try and make a mask for a friend, and here’s what I produced by the end of that period of experimenting. My first finished mask: gold leaf raised detailing on blue and gold.