Come see the masks arrayed for masquerade at...
by Vincent Ur
Sculpted Leather Masks
About the artist.
About the masks.
About care and display.
I began mask making after a vacation to New Orleans, where I was first exposed to leather Mardi Gras masks. I spent several hours in the mask shop, and purchased two, before I headed home. After doing some research on the mask making process, I drew upon my background in art, and produced several masks of my own design. Over the next few months, as my experience in mask making grew, and new techniques developed, I began experimenting with new and varied designs. Because I have had no formal training, my techniques, designs, and subject matter are somewhat unique and off the beaten path. I have now produced thousands of masks. My styles range from festive masks such as the man in the moon, jesters, and the elementals....to the frightening masks like devils, skulls, and dragons..... to everyday animal masks such as wolves, eagles, cats and bats. I also produce many custom pieces on a regular basis.
Each mask is unique. The leather’s original design is cut manually and then shaped by hand. Each mask is sculpted from a single piece of leather. No two pieces are glued or stitched together. The masks are formed while wet, allowing the fibers to relax where they can be reshaped. As the leather dries it becomes more rigid, locking the new shape into place. The leather is then treated to retain its form and resist moisture. Acrylic paint is applied, which enhances and completes the mask’s identity while reinforcing and protecting the leather’s shape. Keeping with the all leather construction, two 15 inch waxed leather straps are added so that it might be tied around the head. The completed mask is light, yet strong and durable, making it suitable for years of wear or hanging as decoration. Any additional adornments are added at this point. Each mask is finalized by signing and numbering within the year it was crafted.
Mask care is as simple as wiping it clean with a damp cloth or brushing the harder to reach nooks and crannies with a clean, dry, soft-bristled paint brush. As with all quality leather products, watch out for water. The mask is treated to resist moisture, so a light rain will not damage it, nor sweat from the face, but is not one hundred percent water proof. If your masks happens to suffer an accident please contact me. I can usually repair all but deliberate damage to your masks. The only cost to you is shipping.
For hanging on a wall I recommend using two cup hooks set about six inches apart. Tie a small loop into each strap at the base of the mask and simply hang on the hooks. If you want additional support, plastic face forms can be found at most hobby stores and placed underneath. Standing displays can be made from wigheads or styrofoam balls, covered with a fabric of your choice, and then set into a base with wooden dowels.