Monday, April 23, 2012

Larval Mask-Making

We have entered the final week of second year.  Amazing.  And to wrap up the year we have spent some time reflecting on the work we have done in these 6 months.  Even more amazing.  But the most inspiring part of this journey of reflection was when we were tasked to make our own larval mask interpretation of our clowns.  In other words... a simple mask that captures the movement dynamic of your clowns body and possibly sentiment... some clowns are fast, some slow, some chaotic, some ordered etc...  The thing that is so exciting is larval masks were the first masks we used to begin the epic journey of mask theatre.  This is because they are so essentialised - a form emerging from a volume - so in terms of mask-play they are where we start... I wrote about it in a previous post.  But in terms of mask-making it is much harder to capture an essential dynamic movement in a simple form.  It is much easier - conceptually - to make a figurative face.  So this is why the mask that looks the simplest is saved for the end of the programme because in some ways it may be the hardest.  And somehow that's often true.  Simplicity is complex but not complicated...  Deep.  I didn't say that.  But I think it's true.  

A line-up of Laval Mask

and here we have the movement dynamic of Freya, Vika and myself...
We also happen to live together in Florence.  Romantic!

Quietly in the background I have continued to make my full mask... very exciting.  I have completed the mould and all that is left now is to paper mache, paint and hope it works on the stage.  

Our amazing teacher Matteo teaching me a new method in a negative mould
 which helps better preserve the features and details of the clay sculpted version...

When mask-making turns to baking!  Freya and Matteo placing the plaster for the negative mould :)


  1. Jenine, your mask looks awesome. What cool work you guys are doing. Inspiring! Can't wait to check you out Thursday night :)

  2. Thanks Marisol... nervous for Thursday of course. eee. x

  3. Hi Jenine, thanks a lot for sharing the process! I was trained by Matteo's former alumnis Richard & Juri this summer in an Erasmus+ project for 2 weeks and since we had limited time, we made figurative masks only. I've always felt that larvals are a whole another story though. As you said, simplicity is complex, (even though it's not complicated) Thanks to your post, now I have an idea how to start my journey with larvals. Great contribution! Thank you so much!