In celebration of the Autumn season, I was inspired to make a mask by my ongoing obsession with the incomparably brilliant Mythago Morris dance troupe. I was also keen for it to have some feeling of the Straw Bear tradition.
I also wanted to do some mask making with my daughter, because it seems like a nice craft activity to do, but I was trying to think of something with a bit of seasonal relevance, so this mask represents the Spirit of the Autumn – the browning of the leaves, the abundance of the harvest, the hints of the cruel winter to come, but some memory still of the delight of the summer.
It is decorated with twisted hazel, raffia, moss, dried berries and strips of old tweed.
I have been reading a really interesting book recently called Sacred Mask Sacred Dance, that draws on the spiritual history of masking traditions, and suggests a framework in which to make and use masks, and is quite inspiring in terms of developing some mask making skills.
I feel like it is both slightly too busy and slightly underdeveloped, and perhaps I should have found ways to expore fewer motifs in more detail, but as a first attempt at a new discipline I’m quite happy with it.
I also wanted to feel a bit rough and ready, but I think that it needed to have been finished to a higher standard generally for it to really be successful.
My daughter made this formidable alien mask, and as usual outshone her old man with her unfettered approach to her art.