Wow, this year really has flown by! I’ve just got back from a lovely long weekend at FolkEast where I ran mask decorating workshops for the second year in a row. Big thanks to everyone who stopped by the stall in the Art Arcade to take part, try masks on, or have a chat. We met so many friendly people and makers – FolkEast really is something special!
Here are some of the masks and skulls, painted by participants of all ages across the weekend. And once again I’m blown away by how awesome and different everyone’s ideas have been. Aren’t they great?
And here are a few of the masks that I was working on between sessions:
This past year I’ve mostly been posting things as I make them over on Instagram, but haven’t posted any blog-worthy projects on here for a while. That should change soon though, as I’ve just got a brand new workspace that I’m very excited about. I’ll get that set up, and then hopefully I’ll get stuck in to some of the many ideas I’ve been hoarding over the past few months!
I was buzzing to get started on mask making when I returned from Florence but it was going to take a while to gather the materials and equipment. Luckily I still had a few old half-finished masks lying around from last year. I’d left them in various states after booking my course in Florence, as I figured I’d probably learn more there than I would by completing them straight away. I wasn’t too worried about ruining them as I’d learned a bit about how to design a mask to fit a face properly since making them!
I started on the old Cthulhu mask. I managed to find a british equivalent of the paint from Florence that resulted in a much more controlled cracked effect than my attempts last year. The paints used for the colour were a bit of a puzzle and I managed to make a bit of a mess with a cat mask before giving up with them. It might just have been an error in translation, but I did some more experimenting and managed to layer up a selection of others for a fairly pleasing result eventually.
I also had a go at adding gold details to the last cat mask, and leaving the background white to see the result of the aging effect more clearly. Although it looks better in real life than this photo makes out I still think I need to work on that a bit. I also managed to cover this second Cthulhu in red fluff after trying to polish him too early. Again, hooray for learning processes.
Then, finally, I had everything I needed to start a new mask, including a rare full day off work! I made a new clay sculpture using my mask from Florence as a reference, cast it in plaster, and have left it to cure. The real test will be in a week or so when I attempt to make a first mask from the mold. Til then I’ll just have to amuse myself with other projects.
This winter I finally got around to a project I’ve been meaning to try for years: Cthulhu chocolates. The idea came about when a colleague lent me a collection of Lovecraft stories and, during the year+ that it took me to get through it (I was very easily distracted) I started doodling tentacles, monsters, scenes from the tales, and eventually sculpting little Cthulhus, inspired by the description of the figurine found in ‘Call of Cthulhu’.
I have a habit of cycling rapidly through different crafts and projects, so at some point during the reading I started making chocolates. I’d picked up a cheap mould, expensive chocolate, and spend a few evenings making ganache and filling chocolates with whatever I could get my hands on (see my post on the first batch).
It only took a small mental leap (and the discovery of food-safe silicone putty) to realise I could turn my Cthulhu sculptures into eldritch edibles. This is the result:
And packaged up with some Elder Sign extras to inflict upon colleagues for Christmas (forgive the cuteness, I threw the packaging together in 20 minutes one morning and used an old Cthulmas doodle):
I also made a larger mould, but he had trouble with air bubbles:
The putty was fun to use and definitely has potential… I don’t tend to make chocolates very often as once I’ve tested them and ‘cleaned’ the melting bowls I really don’t feel like eating chocolate for weeks!