The ‘doctor’ bird mask follows the shape worn by plague doctors in medieval Europe, and the Commedia dell’Arte stock character – representing foolish knowledge. This is nearly finished now, covered with chopped up computer waste (which resisted said chopping up more than expected) and glass mosaic tiles.
Nearly there: five shades of green vitreous 10mm tiles, colours are randomly placed except around the eyes, and black around the mouth etc. Just waiting for the grout to dry a little before final clean up.
My eye was caught by this striking black and white photo of masked protesters in Milan. Meanings mutate! This image started with painted art (Munch’s Scream, and allegedly about his personal horror, agoraphobia), through mock b-movie monster (with added traditional anthropomorphic personification, Death) in the Scream series, and out the other side to … mass performance art and political protest? Very twisty.
The base for an experimental ‘melted’ mosaic, in raku stoneware paperclay. This has been covered with a black slip, and when fired will be filled with small black, white and grey mosaic glass tiles – and then fired again. Hopefully the outcome will be a slumping and spreading and merging at the edges of the glass, while the shapes mostly retain their integrity. No guarantees though … will see in a couple of weeks
The bird mask in the medieval European tradition is a sinister reminder of mortality – plague doctors wore beaked masks stuffed with herbs to fight off infection. In Commedia dell’Arte theatre the character who wore this mask, Il Dattore, exemplified the pompous faux scholar, talking in bad Latin and taking on completely unjustified airs and graces.