Project Three: Masks of Self – Texture, Balance, Repetition and Rhythm 



1a: a cover or partial cover for the face used for disguise (2) : a person wearing a mask

b (1) : a figure of a head worn on the stage in antiquity to identify the character and project the voice (2) : a grotesque false face worn at carnivals or in rituals

c : an often grotesque carved head or face used as an ornament (as on a keystone)

d : a sculptured face or a copy of a face made by means of a mold


2a : something that serves to conceal or disguise Pretense, cloak <aware of the masks, facades and defenses people erect to protect themselves — Kenneth Keniston



To demonstrate basic elements and principles of three-dimensional design. You will investigate basic mold making techniques during the process of creating two paper pulp masks. These masks will be based off a plaster mold of your own face, which will then be cast in Plasticine twice and be manipulated to the best of your ability. You will then make molds of each altered Plasticine casts and use these molds to cast your paper pulp masks. Along with investigating Form and Mold Making, Texture, Balance (symmetrical, asymmetrical, or radial), Repetition and Rhythm are all focuses of this project. 



Step 1: Consider the historical and cultural importance of masks to humanity and their place in contemporary society. Research different types of masks and find some inspiration, I want to see at least 3 rough thumbnail sketches of your plan before you begin this process. After carefully watching my in class demonstration you will make a decision to either make a plaster mold of your face with a partner or, if you are uncomofortable with the idea a plaster mold of one of the dummy heads I have. Make sure that you apply all safety measures and follow the steps shown in class. People can get seriously hurt if this is not done properly!  Make sure that you Vaseline all eyebrows, eyelashes, short or soft facial hair. No beards or mustaches! Males, if you are not shaved you must use the manikin or a volunteer (only current MCC students in the Art Dept. can be a volunteer). Any improperly Vaselined hair stays in the mold and not on your face!!! Make sure that you have the plaster and plaster gauze ready before starting. I also ask anyone wearing makeup to wash it off before making their mold, it can cause problems!!! Shower cap on, ear plugs in, Vasilined facial hair, no makeup, cotton swab and short cut straws in nose, plaster no thicker than 2 inches on face. Approval by me.


Step 2: Once you have made your mold clean out any excess material and then massage at least three separate layers of Murphys Oil based soap into the interior surface of the mold letting the Murphys dry between each coat, this is our first layer of release agent. Then brush a thin light layer of Vaseline into the interior of the mold. Then push Plasticine into the mold in small amounts starting at the nose and working towards the edges until you have it built up to about 2 to 3 inches. Then remove the Plasticine cast. Mount it on sculpting stand and then begin to manipulate the cast to the best of your ability thinking about form, balance, plane, repetition, rhythm and specifically texture. MAKE SURE you have no undercuts! UNDERCUTS, UNDERCUTS, UNDERCUTS!


Step 3: Once you have your sculpt finished make a plaster mold of it. After the plaster is dry remove the Plasticine clean up any excess, patch any holes. Now its time to start pushing in the paper pulp exactly as demonstrated in class. Work from any low/deep part to the outer edges in short thin wet layers, sponging any excess water off the pulp. Then begin adding somewhat larger amounts of pulp until you have a 1 to 2 inch build up throughout the mold. Press any edges. Leave to dry. You must be considering how this will hang, will you drill holes and attach a ribbon or screw a hanger in the back etc.?


Step 4: Remove cast from mold and fix any issues, paint white with Gesso leaving no brush strokes and hand in.


Size: At least 9 inches in one dimension. 



Plaster, Plaster Gauze, Ear Plugs, Vaseline, Plasticine, Carving Tools, Cotton Swabs, Straws, Shower or Bald Cap, Buckets, Small Paintbrush’s, Murphys Oil Soap and Mineral Spirits

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View student examples by selecting an image above

© 2020 Dustin M. Price