Judaism · Leatherwork · Ramblings

Masking a Mess

I’ve been feeling a little more crafty these last few weeks. Maybe it’s because the winter blues are finally going away, or perhaps it’s because I know our craft show season is fast approaching, but I’ve had an urge to get back into the shop I haven’t felt in a long time.

My 6th grade class and their leather masks

As you may know, this is my first year teaching Sunday School. I’m teaching 4 really good 6th graders. I’ve never taught anything in my life so I think it’s been as much of a learning experience for me as I hope it’s been for them.  For Purim this year, I decided that I wanted to do an activity with the kids that they wouldn’t forget. Since I was feeling crafty, I decided we’d make leather masks. They did the designs and painted them, I simply cut and formed them. I think they turned out really well, especially since I’m a terrible teacher and explainer of things.  It was a 2-session process. The first session I explained the process of designing a mask.  After a brief and probably stunted explanation, the kids came up with some really nice designs.

During the second session while they were painting their masks, I explained the process behind cutting/forming the masks by making my own. My mask I sort of made up on the fly the day the kids were painting theirs. I like the way it turned out too. It was my first attempt at decorating the mask with acrylic paints.  I am actually pretty impressed with the effects I was able to produce.

Beyond the few masks I’ve been working on, I’ve spent lots of time ogling other maker’s work. I’ve especially been admiring the fantastic masks over at MeriMask. I love her clean and smooth lines in her designs. I’m feeling very inspired by some of the techniques she uses that never occurred to me. She posted a video online on how she makes one of her masks and it’s a great view into the mind of someone who has been in the business for a while (I think she said like 18 years?).

If I manage to get a block of time this week(end) I’m definitely going to attempt some of her techniques (starting with a NEW base pattern. I’m sick of my current one).  After all, I need at least another 15 masks to start the season with at the end of the month!


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