Mar 12 2011

Dia de los Muertos Leather Mask

I’m feeling so very productive this evening! It’s been a slow few weeks for me creatively. I was really sick for a while, and then I had a couple of busy weeks with both trips and getting a new kitten. It’s amazing all of the time that went into preparing to bring him home to join the family. This week I’ve finally had a little time for creating, and it’s been long past due.

I’ve been working for the last few days on a new Dia de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead for those of you who don’t know the Hispanic terminology) and have it just about finished this evening. I recently made a few masks from leather for Carnival, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided out of all of the things I’ve created for selling, this is something I feel comfortable doing on a regular basis. They seemed to be very popular with everyone who saw them, so I think that they will do well. I’ve already drawn up a lot of designs for masks, but I knew that one of the first ones that I’d have to do would be a Dia de los Muertos mask. It’s a holiday that I’ve always admired and enjoyed. I love the imagery, the bright colors, the festive feel, and the way that ancestors and friends are respected in a way that celebrates life.

I start a new mask by drawing up a design. In order to do a full face mask, it’s quite difficult to do it in one piece unless you use very thin leather, or have a vacuum form. So for this skull mask I planned it in two pieces. Once I have the design drawn up, I trace it on to my leather using a ball point stylus. It is then cut out with a very sharp Exacto/hobby knife. I then cut and tooled this mask to add more dimension. Then, it’s time to paint! This is probably my favorite stage because you get to pick lots of fun colors. :)

I decided that with this mask I’d go for bright colors in almost a neon pastel range. The colors are all light in tone, but still very highly pigmented. I think it’s a fun combination. I started on a base of a pearlized white which had to be built up to cover the natural leather, but still left more of a silver tone. The gloss of the flat neon colors contrasts very nicely with the pearl base.

All that’s left for this mask is for the head strap to be attached, and it will be up for sale on Etsy. Yay for productive weeks!