Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire: Mask-Making

(faces blurred as requested) Faire last year, featuring half leg fauns...
Whoops, I was dragged away from my computer unexpectedly, but I have lots to talk about to catch up on Blaugust posts! Yay me, falling behind on day 2...

I've been going to the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire since I was in the 8th grade, making it one of my longest-lasting traditions and hobbies. For the past three years, I've been braving the heat to wear anthropomorphic goat legs as a faun for a weekend. The first and second of those years, the legs were full and made my legs slick with sweat. If it weren't for wicking pants, I might have started sweating through the fur itself. The third year, it was simply going to be too warm, and I cut the legs down to half, wearing baggy pants on the top half.

This year, I've had enough of the heat, simply enough. I've had a raven skull shoulder piece sitting around for a few years with the intentions of building a costume around it, and this year looks to be the one! Instead of wearing the shoulder piece, however, I've decided to base a costume off of the idea and center around a skull mask instead.

In this picture, you can see the shoulder piece held in place where I want the mask to be in context of the rest of my costume so far:


I was originally planning to make the mask out of strips of plaster, like how I made my horns in the first picture. However, when I sat down at my friend Kevin's to start, I noticed that he used paper mache to make his mask (coincidentally also a bird, though we have slightly different artistic angles to our costumes), which was much faster, lighter, and more logical for the piece. Well, so much for lugging eight pounds of plaster with me on the bus...

I started by wrapping plastic wrap around a mannequin head and drawing on what I wanted the base face piece to look like. I would build everything else off of that. In this picture, you see the dried face-base (and Kevin):


I then made a cardboard model of what I wanted the beak to look like, and wrapped that too with plastic wrap until I got the beak to the size and smoothness that I was aiming for:


Yeah, it's huge! I laid down paper-mache over the plastic and waited for that to dry. Once I peeled it off, I removed the cardboard skeleton, as shown below:


This morning, as I had to bus back home, Kevin offered to do a couple more layers of paper-mache on the mask and then to paint it like his so we could match a little. However, I took a quick picture before heading out, just to keep in mind what the dream was:


I'll be sure to update when that mask is painted. I have a few other pieces I'm working on, which I'll write more about this month. I'm happy to be very much on track for Faire - I'm not cutting any corners...yet!

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