Xothique's Journal

October 2, 2007

Leather Masks

Filed under: New Artwork — Xothique @ 1:27 am

I’ve been making masks out of papier-mache for a few years, now. I have no formal training, but having explored and researched many different techniques on my mask-making journey, I like to think I’ve served my apprenticeship. That is not to say that I am not open to learning new skills; far from it. I have recently discovered the joy of working in leather.

I have always wanted to create leather masks, but shied away from it for several years – I suffer from tendon problems in my arms, and working leather is quite intensive. The thought that I might do myself further injury always put me off. Earlier this year, however, the lovely people at The Identity Store in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, persuaded me to try a small sample of vegetable-tanned leather to see what I could do with it, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s such a gorgeous medium to work with. I love the way it moulds to a form, and the luxurious texture and feel of it. I’ve experimented with different grades of leather and different finishes, and I am confident that I will soon be able to showcase some unique new masks.

The good news is that so far I have been pacing the work quite carefully, and haven’t noticed any worsening of my symptoms. In case anyone gets the wrong idea, I am not giving up papier-maché. I like both media. There are effects that I can achieve in leather that I couldn’t with paper, and vice versa.

I am currently working towards the Hallowe’en and Christmas seasons, so expect to see some new and hopefully interesting designs over the coming months.