Monday, December 04, 2006

Paper Mache Workshop

One of the reasons for visiting Florence, apart from having a vacation, was to take part in a paper mache workshop.One week.Monday to Friday.Thirty hours about four or five hours a day.

Start with one kilo of clay.Measure your facial features with callipers e.g distance from chin to forehead,nose,mouth etc and mark on the clay.Then start to shape a mask.It seems the only limit is ones imagination and ensuring the shapes and angles can be removed from a mould without breaking.

After finishing the mask cover it with plaster of paris.This provides the negative mould for the paper mache mask.

After the plaster has dried remove the clay from the cavity and clean it.Then using thin construction paper and pva glue line the cavity with one layer of paper.After the first layer then continue to paper the cavity with three more layers of thicker grade paper.

Once the final three paper layers have dried carefully remove the mask from the plaster mould.

Finally decorate the mask using acrylic and oil paints and seal it with a mix of tar and wax which both seals and "ages" the mask.We,myself and five far more artistic women on the course, also were taught how to use gold and silver foil on the masks but as I was running out of time I opted not to put any on my mask.
My mask is obvivously pretty simple and I wouldnt call myself artistic but I learned some interesting techniques and methods to attempt something more elaborate in the future.
The course was run by a very patient, friendly Alice Dessi in her basement art studio and I'd recommend it if you are in any way interested in paper mache.


K.W.Wan said...

that looks pretty amazing! it's got so much detail in the face; both elaborate and realistic.

tim said...

cheers for the comment,if you want to see the real deal and some creative masks check out Alices website and collections at

Bob said...

Great work Tim, that's amazing that you went to Italy and did paper mache art workshops! Keep up the good work mate.

Bob said...

Great work Tim, that's awesome you went to Italy and did paper mache workshops. Also, you have a great eye for photos, keep up the good work.
- Canadian Bob

tim said...

Hey Bob,
long time no see or hear. Hows the big nature treating you? Same same here just waiting for the Christmas break from 27th December.
Thanks for your comments.As for the photos well digital cameras and PhotoShop make it easy.
Have a good Christmas and New Years mate