Mask, Mystery and Magic
Masks making for me is an effective and appropriate way to introduce students and teachers alike to a very unique and dynamic art form. Each student and those teachers and staff members who wish to do so will make his or her own mask. Modeled in Paris craft plaster bandage directly on the persons’ face, the mask is then painted and decorated. It can be designed for use in theater and dance or hung on the wall for exhibition.
The mask making project can also be applied by the teacher to other curriculum such as social studies and geography by relating it to mask producing cultures in Africa, Indonesia, Mexico, etceteras. As a creative writing project, students can express their feelings about the artistic experience or can describe the mythical beings, monsters, spirits and clowns that they have created. We will explore the power of the mask to transform and its use as a tool for self discovery.
Many school and public libraries have some publications that deal with masks both ancient and modern. It would be very beneficial for teachers and students to do some research on the subject in order to prepare before beginning our residence. A group project of creating a “World of Masks” bulletin board with clippings of masks from magazines will help to develop and borrow ideas that serve as a source of inspiration.
During my workshops, I will bring along my own masks finished and in-progress in order that the students observe art being made. My working style is very meticulous and I feel it of utmost importance that students observe the artist’s approach to attention paid to details. I will strive to give each student personal attention and will help them plot their own creative directions. Teachers who participate in the mask making serve as a great source of motivation to students and provide for a much more stimulating, creative and controlled environment.
Art is a process of self discovery and discipline. As an artist active in the educational system, I have found that once providing instructions, familiarization with the materials and some suggestions, that most students can be left for a short periods of time with their art work. This allows the person a chance to use their own imagination, to develop decision making skills, dexterity and control. Spontaneity and experimentation with form and color can provide a state of surprise, excitement and pure fun, essential elements for positive and creative educational experiences.
Thank you very much for your attention and I look forward to working with you and your organization in a successful and productive mask making session.