Welcome to our Primitive Handbuilding with Clay series for 2016. These are limited edition classes held each year, for a limited number of students. Please sign up in advance to ensure your seat in the class.
This will be the first workshop in this series.
Finding your inner self . . . through mask-making
In life we wear many masks, each appropriate to the situation in which we find ourselves. Over time we get in the habit of using only a few “faces” out of the extensive repertoire we possess. Mask making has the potential to explore inner creative resources which we cannot access in ordinary ways. Working without a preconceived notion of the end result opens us to discover “something else” about ourselves.
Mask making appears in many different cultures and throughout the course of human history. Making a mask of one’s own face invites each of us, as creator, to explore various aspects of our own persona. Masks can capture a particular state of mind, create a facade in which we can hide behind, or allow us to “try on” certain characteristics or moods to see how they fit. The activity can be illuminating since it takes the mask maker out of the realm of words and employs imagination and nonverbal action. By simply indulging in the mask-making process, we can reopen doors and creative pathways long ago forgotten. I feel this way about self-portraits in clay as well.
From Psychology Today: In art therapy, creating a mask from scratch or decorating a pre-made mask often leads to exploring one’s persona. Persona actually is a word that derives from the Latin for “mask,” but often refers to the practical and successful personality that we use most of the time in the workplace and social relationships. It’s a bit like a facade that we start to develop in childhood when we get approval for behaving in certain ways. At the same time, we also learn to disguise and repress those features and traits that not approved- negative characteristics such as anger, greed, envy, and jealousy. We also may repress any other aspects such as creativity or self-confidence if these qualities are not appreciated or affirmed.
Carl Gustav Jung wrote extensively about the concept of persona and the various ways it manifests itself. He also proposed that there is a dark side to the personality, well-know to the field of psychology as the shadow. It includes both repressed, instinctual feelings and untapped potential. To me, the shadow is not just the “evil” opponent of persona, but is also imagination and creativity left behind or forgotten because of sensible or good behavior.
In this workshop, we will be making a mask that represents you. Maybe you connect with a certain totem animal, or maybe you love the color blue, or maybe you see yourself in your dreams looking different than you do in reality. It doesn’t matter. All will be okay here. We will start by making a simple mask from clay. Once this form (or canvas) is set up, you can take it any direction you like. This is a class suitable for a beginner or a skilled artisan. So do not be intimated. Everyone is equal in art.
Mask making is fun, but remember it is a pretty intense spiritual practice, and most people will have some emotion around these masks later, once you have had a chance to be with your piece of art. The “a-ha!” moment will come. Just be open to all you have to learn here.
All materials and tools needed will be provided. We will make our relief pieces and take the time to apply underglazes of color before firing. Pieces will be fired and delivered to you when complete.
$75.00 per student – August 14th – 2:30 p.m. – 6:00 pm
Light refreshments will be available to nibble and sip as you work. We will be working outside, (in the event of rain, we can move under cover).
To Register for this class, please complete the following form. A 25% deposit is required if you cannot pay in full upon registration. Balance due can be paid at the time of class. This helps me get the materials I need.