I have made some progress on photographing more of my pots, and now have all of my masks posted on the web. There are 30 in all (not counting the ones that just came out of the kiln). Masks are one of the most fun things to make. I do 2 different styles. One is very quick, where slabs of clay (often with some texture added with shoe treads or dollies) is placed over a plastic pillow of some sort (generally an old clay bag filled with packing peanuts), then eyes, ears, and/or noses formed. Then various appendages, such as eyebrows, tongues, or horns can be added. That’s it. Examples are the Elephant face, and most of the animals. The other style is a bit more deliberate. You start with 2 slabs of clay, roughly the same size and shape. One piece is the back, they you build up “bones” in face with additional pieces of clay. The top (front) piece is laid on top, and sealed on the edges. The clay is press on and around the “bones” to form a face. Examples are Firecooked and the Kiln Goddesses.
I started making masks in Auburn. My real inspiration was Gillian Hodge, an artist that lived in Penn Valley (another small town in the foothills of the Sierra’s). In addition to pottery, she also painted.. and overall had a very fascinating life. She occasionally taught workshops, and I was fortunate enough to take the mask making class, as we well as a workshop on doing travel sketches.
Let me know which one(s) you like! Next I will try to get photographs of my little people, hopefully that won’t take another 4 months.