Tuesday, December 3, 2013

AED 501 Mask-Making

“History provides the setting and context for a work of art and helps us understand the artist and the circumstances in which the work was made. Artworks reflect the times and cultures of the people who produced them. Art history provides a kind of timeline that shows how art has developed from early human history to the present. It also shows how artists have been influenced by previous artistic styles, by technology and social change and the like, and how these influences showed up in their artwork….We understand today’s art more fully when we can trace its development through time.”
~Gerald Brommer
Ø  Masks are a universal art form produced by cultures world-wide to fulfill a variety of purposes.
Ø  Students can learn about mask making in various cultures--symbol and function, rites and rituals--and then translate their knowledge into production of their own masks.
What cultural influence did you use as inspiration for your mask?
What were the authentic purposes for the mask in that culture?
What materials did you use in the production to simulate authentic materials?
How were the elements of art used to create the mask and represent the culture?
What did you learn? 
What might you do differently next time?
What did you do best in the process?
Advice for teachers and lesson planning...
#AED501 Masks...

African Spirit Mask

 This is an African spirit mask. The spirit mask was worn during celebrations and ceremonies, which could b for initiations, crop harvesting, war preparation, and peaceful times.  It is believed that the spirit of the ancestor possesses the person who is wearing the mask. I used the card board pre-cut mask, packaging peanuts, colorful strips of tissue rolled up, strips of tissue unrolled and bundled up for the cheeks, and long paper string. I used different 3 dimensional shapes with every part of the face minus the eye brows. A small variety of color was used to decorate the mask here. Next time I would make the mask have more hair :/ I would also paint the face before gluing anything onto it to have a better background color. If I were to do this with my students I would make the masks wearable and let the students have a celebration of a peaceful time.
~Ashley Ankerson 

Theatre Mask 
This is a theatre mask or that was worn for performances for European theatre. The masks were for mystery plays and worn by the principal actors in the drama. The only visible material used in this mask is construction paper of different colors. Form was used to create a 3 dimensional mask. Different colors and shapes were added to the mask by cutting construction paper into many shapes. The cheeks on the mask are swirly and pop out of the face, the nose of the mask pops out as well. At the top of the mask different types of lines were used, straight, diagonal, and zigzag. Contrasting colors of orange and blue were used for the eyes and mouth. When creating this mask I used construction paper, scissors, and glue.
Next time I would make the background color different than white, I think the mask could have had more color. I think I had a good variety of shapes, line, and form on the mask. If I were teaching younger students about mask making I would spend more time on each mask culture and have students be able to create a few different masks.
~Ashley Ankerson
                             Huichol Mask
I was searching for colorful masks and found the masks of the Huichol people in Mexico. Their masks are completely covered with seed beads that have been pressed into beeswax. The beads are used to create symbols such as flowers, snakes, and scorpions. The symbols generally have a religious significance and can be used to communicate with the spirit world or to relay the content of spiritual visions.I created this Huichol-inspired mask from colored paper. This simplified the process, making it easy enough for young children. I think it would be fun to learn more about the authentic beeswax and beads method and try it out on a small project. I experimented with several different versions of the black background form. That is an interesting process—the shaping of the paper form—that would also be fun to explore more in other applications.
The elements of color and shape were the most obvious ways to copy the Huichol mask style. The images are composed of bright beads of all colors and they often appear on a black background. Simplified flowers are common on Huichol masks and there are some variations in the flower shape. The shapes are usually placed on the mask symmetrically, and so I did that here as well.
~Amanda Turn-Shamback
Torres Strait Island Mask
This mask was inspired by those made by the Torres Strait Islanders. These were mostly used for ceremonies that included funerals and rituals intended to increase crops and hunting success. These masks would usually be worn by men who would reenact hero stories during the rituals. Often the masks take a composite human/animal form such as a human face with a bird atop.
The masks were made from wood or turtle shells and the dominant colors were red, yellow, white, and black. Often they have elongated faces and are embellished with trails of painted dots. Feathers, shells, and vegetable fibers also decorate the masks. In place of wood or a turtle shell, my mask is constructed of a painted paperboard mask form. I did use some actual shells for embellishments but also used bits of packing peanuts to simulate more natural materials.
Studying the authentic masks in terms of the elements of art helped me to emulate the style. I used the element of color to replicate this style of mask. It was necessary to uses browns that look like wood. The white lines that were added are dotted and follow the contours of the mask. I substituted raffia for the traditional vegetable fibers because the texture is similar.
I had honestly not heard of the Torres Strait Islander people before beginning this project and searching for interesting masks. I learned something about them. I also enjoyed seeing all the variety in classmates’ masks and learned about many mask-making possibilities.
I am happy with the way the mask turned out. I think that looking at many masks from one culture and finding commonalities worked well. In the future I would like to experiment with some different types of paint. I used tempera and the brown was bleeding through the white even after drying to make it look pink.
~Amanda Turn-Shamback

                           India Peacock Mask

This mask is a peacock made out of tissue paper, the end of a plastic cup, Styrofoam, feathers, and paint. Inspiration for this mask came from the festive parades held in India. Indians will dress up as an animal native to their country to become more at one with nature. The peacock is a revered animal in India for its beauty and grace and is a common mask choice at these festivals and parades. They believe that animal masks can help them be more in touch with nature and let them see life through the eyes of another creature. They also use animal masks for religious purposes, to evoke certain emotions in people, to honor gods, and for medicinal rituals. Their masks are very colorful and are made from mostly natural materials, such as pumpkin hollows, cardboard, and wood.  I used line to decide where to separate the head from the face and the Styrofoam looks like the curved lines around the peacock’s eyes. I have several 3D forms on the mask with the use of the cup end, the feathers, the tissue paper, and the Styrofoam. As far as color goes, I used mostly different values of blues and greens and the beak is a tannish color. The mask has several different textures; the Styrofoam, the tissue paper, the feathers, and the plastic all give different feels. If I were to make this mask again, I would like to have actual peacock feathers to give it a more authentic look. I do like the tissue paper that was scrunched and glued on for that textured effect. As a teacher, this mask making activity could be used in a study for different cultures around the world and how they view animals and nature. ~Ashleigh Evans 


Brittney Kent said...

Hello! My name is Brittney Kent, I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I want to start off by saying that I think the idea of creating a mask is incredible. Most teachers would not think of this. From what I get out of reading the students' descriptions of their masks, I believe they had to research different cultures to figure out the mask they wanted to create. If this is correct, I love the thought put into it. It makes not only a fun project but also educational. I loved reading the students' descriptions and learning interesting facts about each of the above mask.

Brittney Kent

Elizabeth Kessler said...

Hi Dr. Vitulli! My name is Elizabeth Kessler and I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I really enjoyed your post about the different cultures and mask making. This seems to be a great way to integrate the arts into other general subjects including Social Studies and History. I really like the fact that it gets the student's creativity going along with learning about another subject. Thank you for sharing your post!
Elizabeth Kessler

Megan Long said...

Hello Dr. Vitulli! Although I am in your EDU 301 class, I am responding to this blog post for Dr. Strange's EDM 310. I love all of the lessons that can be taught by the use of mask making. I have learned many new teaching techniques by being in your class, and I hope to learn even more as this semester concludes. Art, especially mask-making, allows students to research, but also to be creative. As teachers, it is our responsibility to allow our students to be creative, because that is how they learn. Thanks for sharing! If you are interested as to what I am learning in Dr. Strange's class, follow my blog- longmeganedm310.blogspot.com,

John McPeek said...

Hello Dr. Vitulli. I am in Dr. Strange's EDM310 course. I would like to thank you for a great blogpost. History can be such a broad subject and one aspect I have never really looked into is the History of Cultural masks. After reading your post it now occurs to me that I should use this kind of history as well when I am writing papers for other classes. Thank you for opening my eyes to this kind of history that I have neglected.