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The altered stuffies I’d had on hand came with me to Toronto

gift sketch of Dino-dog altered stuffie

for Fanexpo and a most of them found homes. One of the later ones to go was the Dino-dog. It’s always hard, creating things and then letting them go. The stuffies are especially difficult due to the cuteness factor and how each one has such a distinct personality. Everyone has tempted me to keep it for myself, only a firm grasp of the reality of my storage space got me to put them up for sale. Some people understand the difficulty involved in handing them over and, in the this case, his new owner appreciated his character and was excited enough about him that she drew me a picture to remember him by. It was so sweet of her that I had share!

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Recently, the last of my Spider masks sold and went on a journey to Australia. It’s actually the farthest, that I know of, that one of the masks has travelled and I thought it fitting that it was going to the land of terrifyingly huge spiders. It’s new owner told me it would be used in a performance piece but I had to wait a while to see it. (she was organized enough to give it plenty of travel time, even if it did get there really quickly) It was worn to help create the character of Arachne in “The Blood of Arachne” and was part of Free Fall 2012. Here’s their description of the piece:

Naomi Oliver will take on the mythical persona of Arachne  and interpret the monotonous weaving of her web  through materials and performance nstallation. Douglas, encased in a red body suit, becomes her hapless victim as he is trapped  by the enmeshed form of her threads. The work is a metaphorical interpretation of Douglas kidney disease that he has lived with since 2004 and explores themes around suffering and entrapment, body degeneration. illness and death.

You can even watch it on youtube!

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Pretty much, with the masks, I just make what I want to and then list them as finished pieces.  However, I do get the occasional call for custom work. A little while ago I had a request for a pair of masks in the very traditional Venetian pairing of gold and off-white. I also don’t typically do pairs since the way I hand- make my masks means they won’t be exactly identical, but the client said she was fine with a bit of variation. They were a fun to do, and I love the look of the gold gilding against the the antiqued white. (and I’ve got to remember to make a few more of this style for the shop) Once they were done, they got wrapped up and went off to California. I don’t often get see what my clients end up doing with their masks, but Margaret, a photographer, was kind enough to send me some of the pictures from her first shoot using them! (and it looks like she’ll be using them again for even more!) I love the soft dreamy feel in the pictures and am impressed with how well her models beautiful eyes show through the mask. (especially since we didn’t have a chance to custom fit them in advance) You can check out more of the shots on her facebook page and also her blog.

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The masks head out all over the world to go out and have adventures.

at the Ballet fundraiser!

If it’s on-line, or in person, I always ask them to send me pictures, if they wear them anywhere fun. Most of the time I don’t hear much, which isn’t too much of a surprise since people are busy, but I appreciate it when they take the time to forward a picture. This was one of my ornate silver Venetian masks, crowned with the brown feathers, that was purchased from the studio last year. When Sandra stopped in this year she showed me the picture on her phone and I asked for a copy, so I could share it. They attended a fundraiser for the Rochester Ballet last fall and it was part of a stunning ensemble. (The very fun bat mask that her husband is wearing isn’t one of mine) It’s so good to see one of the masks “in the wild”!

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I did another on-line interview about my masks recently (it is the season, what with Carnival )  and I just realised that I never posted the link. Eek! It was by Jewelz Creatives on her Artfire blog. Check it out!

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Artfire encourages it’s members to blog about their art and interests and even provides a platform for us to use! I’ve been settled in here long enough that I didn’t choose to move but I still think it’s a great concept.  Some other artists also spend some time talking, not just about their work, but things that grab their attention. As a result, I just did an interview for Created Sensibilities about the masks and my process. You can check it out here!

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One of my new, colourful Carnival masks

Gold and purple Venetian masquerade mask, "Mauve"

is on the front page of Artfire right now! It’s in a collection called “February Baby“.

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We’ve been having a quiet holiday week here. Considering the dates for Christmas and New Years, and that I’ve finally succumbed to the cold Dad’s been battling the past couple of weeks, we opted to stay closed until the New Year.  (all the holiday rush framing was picked up by Christmas Eve so we could do it guilt free)

There was a nice surprise for me today in that my silver and white mask “Dauphin” is in a collection that is on the front page of Artfire right now! I still working on getting that store fully set-up, and they have so many options it can take a while, but I love how quickly we’ve made friends there.

It’s been a great year and we’re still loving our adventure here in Shakespeare. Hopefully next year will good one for you and yours. Happy New Year!!!

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I got a pleasant surprise a couple of days ago. The customer who bought my Copper Hawk sent me a picture of how they have displayed it.

Copper Hawk mask on display!

They made a really creative choice and have attached it to a mounted deer skull, complete with antlers to create a striking and cohesive looking piece. I love getting to see the next stage of life that my artworks go to. I know that not every artist is comfortable with the fact that, as soon as it has left your hands, you no longer have control on what it becomes and how people make it part of their lives but I’m fully accepting of it. Maybe it’s a result of all those years of helping people figure out what they needed to do with art they’ve acquired in terms of framing. It’s just fun for me to see all the creative ways they make my masks their own, most of which I never would have come up with.

In other news, my over-sized silver and brown mask, Sweeney is part of a masquerade feature on Keeping Creativity Alive.

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While many of the masks I make are pretty and romantic, some are not. There are the Steampunk ones, the geeky ones, the creepy ones and then the just plain odd. I recently

Bacon mask

finished and listed this “Bacon” mask. I cut and painted pieces of salvaged leather and then attached them to a mask base that I’d painted in a fairly neutral colour. I was actually trying to achieve a “lightly toasted piece of toast” finish but, since the bacon turned out to look like the uncooked stuff, that would be kinda gross. I’m still working on a pair of ones that will look like cooked crispy bacon, on greasy paper towel. (the paper towel is already done and looks just like it was soaked in grease! I keep thinking that I should be less proud than I am about that achievement) As a completely unjuried site, Etsy has more-than-a-little bit of weird to be found. There are people who make fun of some of the things that can be found, but I prefer the attitude of the  person who set up the Celebrate Odd Etsy! Blog. The idea is to look at the strange stuff and celebrate the well-done, but odd things that appear there in abundance. They are also a member of the sites “Team Bacon” so I guess that’s how I caught their eye. “Bacon” leads a trio of my masks that were featured on it yesterday. I’m pleased to be in such good company so feel free to take a look!

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