Charmaine the High Desert Diva, was kind enough to feature my Water Element Leather Mask on her blog, which can be viewed here.
Mask making is something I learned in the past few years. I remember seeing my first leather mask at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire years and years ago. I was entranced by the shapes and modeling that was possible in the medium. So a few years ago, my ever-so-thoughtful boyfriend gave me a kit for my birthday that contained a few pieces of leather, a face form and a video on how to make leather masks. I was overjoyed! I could finally unravel the secrets if those beautiful masks I had so long admired. Unfortunately the instructions provided and on the video were very vague about certain important points. I spent about a year developing my own techniques for making super sturdy, yet delicate masks and various ways to finish them.
The Raven mask pictured here is a relatively simple design that molds close to the wearer's face and has an long beak. The beak is a design element that must be planned for in the design stage to ensure that enough leather is cut to create the correct shape.
After I had my technique down, I worked on creating designs that would test the limits of the material and myself.
The Forest Spirit Mask, pictured here in Autumn coloring, was created using scraps of thin leather that were hand cut into leaf shapes and scored with the vein pattern. The individual leaves were then applied to a simple domino mask base of a medium weight leather. I took a great deal of time molding each leaf to look as natural as possible. I applied the paint with my trusty airbrush, carefully applying color in light layers for a natural look. I wanted to convey the feeling that you had scooped up a handful of fallen leaves and pressed them to your face. I think that I was pretty success full.
In my continuing efforts to push my personal envelope, I decided to recycle a piece of rabbit fur into a mask. I chose the basic domino as my base, and after I molded it to the shape I desired, I glued on the rabbit fur with leather cement. I had to seal the edge with something that would mot de-laminate so I used glittery fabric glue because it dries into a tough plastic. I've never seen anyone else use fur in this manner, so I hope everyone will have a little respect and not copy the idea!