It’s been a little over a year since I began teaching myself the wonderful art of leather mask making. This was something I decided to do because I LOVE making costumes, I wanted a really cool leather mask, and it felt wrong to pay for a mask when making masks is something I’ve always done.
As a kid I’d get my hands on chicken wire, shred a bunch of newspaper and go to town creating a papier mache dragon or Gollum - yes I dressed up as Gollum BEFORE it was cool. In fact, at thirteen (back in 1997), NO ONE at my school knew who I was dressed up as. Such a sad state of affairs.
But I digress.
When I got into high school I learned how to make plaster cast masks - soaking strips of plaster coated material and sticking them to my vaseline covered face and then peeling the dried mask off (along with fine hairs and chunks of my eyebrows) to paint later.
The thing is, papier mache tends to get punctured and it doesn’t hold up well in the elements, like rain and snow, of which we could get both in one Hallowe’en growing up in Calgary. But then, the plaster cast masks were cumbersome things, weighty sculptures that became uncomfortable to wear just from looking at them. They also made it impossible to be heard when worn. As though the wearer is speaking from the other side of a thick plaster wall - which they effectively are.
I just wanted to sculpt something wearable, classy, functional - but also durable and comfortable and versatile.
Enter YouTube videos of leather mask making and suddenly I had found a material that would work!
So I bought some leather and the initial supplies and I dabbled. I made a fox for myself and a green man for my dad and then, well, then I went to town with it. I made a giraffe, a dragon, several Day of the Dead masks, a cat, a ‘peacock’ inspired design, a panda, a snake! So many masks - to name just a few!
It’s like the perfect project for me creativity-wise. It involves sketching, drawing, cutting out, detail work, sculpture AND painting. And the result is a really classy looking item when is comfortable to wear for hours, durable and smells quite nice because leather.
Anyhoo - Hallowe’en is nearly upon us and I have a bunch of masks taking up a lot of space so if you’d like one - and rather not put in all the effort of making it yourself - take a look at what’s in The Gallery. Or like, y’know, you could gift one to a friend or something. ;)
When not writing, making art or recording podcasts,
Kaitlyn can be found in trees, listening to Dharma talks on her iPod, Boon.
Thusly named because
Brian Froud = Awesome.