It’s been much too long since I made any masks.
And I’ve never made a classic latex mask using a plaster mould. My masks have all been one-off creations in instamorph, baring some very early efforts with papier mâché. I’ve always thought I should know how to work in the basic method that so many other mask-makers use.
Soo, this week, I’m taking advantage of a short course at a nearby university, run by a properly famous creature creator, Jordu Schell. Today was Day Three, when we all finished our sculptures, covered them in casting plaster, and then cleaned our moulds of clay.
It was a pleasant novelty to take a sculpt to a really finished texture, fully creating a character in clay. This is not my usual mask-making process, when detail is added directly on the mask’s plastic surface. The clay we used, WED clay is also new to me. It’s not made to be fired, and is smooth and firm and very slow drying. I even made some new tools last night to help me create the scales on my glum reptile’s skin, inspired by a cunning tiny loop that another student made with old guitar string and a chopstick. Mine used ukulele string, clay wire, and Instamorph handles.
I should have done more research on reptile skin techniques before beginning to hand-draw scales, as I was slightly cross eyed by the end. But I’m pretty happy with where I got to.
Tomorrow when the moulds are dry it will be time to pour the latex, while Friday will be the fun of finishing and painting. I am taking many notes, which I hope will still make sense when I eventually try to follow them.