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Do either of those release agents affect your ability to paint the masks afterward?
I have just been reading an older book (1986) that I have found very interesting and informative, 'Maskmaking' by Carole Sivin that may be of interest to you. It is in the Interlibrary Loan system if you want to take a look. It's very good to get the creative juices going.
Any news on the competition?
Just to update this dialogue and hopefully keep the conversation going, I want to offer my latest insight/improvement to the described process. Upon casting my latest mold, I applied a very light coating of vaseline to the mold to hopefully fill in any surface scratches of small crevices, and then sprayed the mold lightly with Pam cooking spray. This seems to work best for all my molds and results in the least sticking to the mold (and surface damage) of the wool paper mask when removed from the mold. It's getting better with repetition and experience.
Sue, sorry I missed your post, but I was clicking on the original link and never noticed this side road (or whatever you call this). As for release agents affecting my ability to paint the masks, upon removal from the mold, I repair loose flaps and coat the surface with PVA glue and then gesso. The Pam absorbs better into the wool paper and doesn't seem to affect the surface. The vaseline does seem to adversely affect the surface somewhat.
I will have to find that Carole Sivin book. I have recently gotten Tile Decorating With Gemma, just to see if there was something interesting to learn about her, as well as The Art And Craft of Papier Mache by Juliet Bawden. I need longer days.
No news yet on the competition, they are supposed to send notification November 15th. I am trying not to get my hopes too high so that I won't be too disappointed.
Last edited by dwinitt (2009-11-13 20:12:54)
It has been a long time between posts, but I didn't have much to add. I have made two trips back to Venice and one trip to Florence since, and have learned quite a bit. I visited Alice's Mask Shop in Florence, and Alice pointed me in the direction of a shop where I could purchase the wool paper. I bought around 30 pounds of it, and filled my suitcase. After visiting my favorite mask shop in Venice back in April, the Boldrin brothers told me if I came back in November, I could work in their studio. I just went, and they allowed me to work in the studio two mornings. I learned quite a bit, and their grace and friendship made it one of the best experiences of my life. I also spoke extensively with another mask maker, and came away with some insights and greater understanding of the process.
There really is no "right" way to do it. Best advice was to try things and see what works. The greatest improvement to my process has come from using wallpaper paste instead of PVA glue. The Boldrin brothers sent me home with a box of paste. I think it is wheat paste (the info on the box is in Italian). It is a tan powder that mixes with water and makes a clear gel. The first layer goes on with the paste, and you do all the paper mache work at once. When I dried it and removed it from the mold, nothing stuck to the mold (this was a first for me), and there was very little that needed repair. Some strips of newspaper on any surface imperfections that are bothersome, smoothing with a finger nail, and the whole process is made so much faster and more enjoyable.
Another mask maker who also uses the wool paper (it is pretty much universally used by all the good mask makers in Italy) recommended any absorbent paper (he also uses blotter paper).
I am re-energized to make more masks, and to try and keep improving my design and technique. The Boldrins left it open for another visit to their studio, and I am sure I will have to take them up on their offer. My collection of their masks rivals their current inventory, at least that's what they jokingly said.
In Italian, wheat is 'grano' or 'frumento'; cellulose is 'cellulosa'.
My cellulose wallpaper paste is white and somewhat granular, and makes a clear gel. I'm thinking that the wheat paste may be finer.
Lucky you, being able to actually work there! I'm envious!
'There really is no "right" way to do it. Best advice was to try things and see what works.' That is probably the bottom line in papier mache.
Thanks for the update!
More on this, as my obsession is re-energized. The wallpaper paste is cellulose, and I have found a source for the Henkel Metylan paste in Texas. The cellulose paste has improved the process immensely. Mask came right out of the mold, nothing stuck to the mold, and there were very few flaws.
I am now re-focused on trying to find the elusive wool paper. Squires Kitchen Online is just too outrageous when you factor in the shipping. It is cheaper to fly over to Florence, Italy and bring back a suitcase full. I have been in contact with an Italian paper mill that has representation in the US, and make a cotton/wool paper in three different weights. Their papers are distributed in the US through Mac Paper. They are sending me samples of each. Hopefully this will work. Despite my best efforts, I cannot find a source for the soft, supple, flexible, absorbent wool paper (carta lana) that is used by most of the mask makers in Venice. It is simply the best! While I'm frittering away my time, I guess I will also try blotting or blotter paper. Back in prehistoric times with my ink pens, I remember the paper as soft and absorbent.
If anyone knows of a reasonable source for this paper, I think many of us would greatly benefit and appreciate the help.
Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!! Happy Everything!!!
Try to find 100% wool felt. It used to be the only kind there was, then most of it turned into polyester.
There are still a few companies here that make it. Just make sure what they're selling is 100% wool, as what they often call 'wool' is 20-30% wool mixed with a synthetic. It costs about $32/yard (60" wide) from Central Shippee, but there may be a large minimum.
Weir Crafts http://www.weirdollsandcrafts.com/wool- … t-100.html sells small amounts for $20 for 36x36" pieces. This appears to be a thinner felt than some of the others sources.
This isn't a complete list, by any means.
What's the place in TX that carries the Henkel cellulose?
Prairie Point Junction http://www.prairiepointjunction.com/woo … ntral.html sells 100% wool pieces, 18x28" for $8.
Wallpaper Fashions in Mineola, Texas seems to be the best source for the Henkel paste, One pound of Metylan, including shipping, was $29.00. Sue, thanks as always for your other tips.
Already some time i've been following this tópic and i wonder if the Dwinitt ever even said the name of the shop in Florence that he bought Carta Lana.
Here in Portugal there is nothing and will have made a purchase in Squires-shop but would like to buy bigger and much more paper.
I will start my adventure in mask making!!!
Sorry if my english is not so well but i use google translator.😉
Last edited by jacinta (2014-08-13 15:51:55)
Original poster dwinitt did not specify the name of the shop; he said someone in the Alice Mask shop told him where to go to buy the carta lana (wool paper).
This is the contact information for the mask studio:
Alice's Masks Studio
Via Faenza 72 r.
phone or fax: (+39) 055287370
Hi! Thank you so much! I already Send a email to Alice shop!!!😉
Let me see if i get locky!!!
Last edited by jacinta (2014-08-18 15:44:47)
To locate where to buy the the material called carta lana or wool paper by those who do professional maskmaking in Italy, please see my link at this site titled "'Carta lana' is available in most large cities, US, GB, Europe" at http://www.papiermache.co.uk/forum/view … hp?id=3479
They only call it carta lana in Italy. Everywhere else they call it 100% cotton moleskin.
This thread has gotten a lot of hits, so the info must be popular. I'm just kicking it back to the top so it's easy to find.
It's funny you should just think to do this Sue. I have had an email from someone wanting to know my opinion on whether I thought pva or paverpol was better for stiffening fabric.
Paverpol is a product that I have only tried the once....for my waterproofing experiment. http://www.papiermache.co.uk/articles/w … ier-mache/ I found the paverpol only marginally better than pva. I am a big fan of pva, and a lot of products are based on it anyway.
Has anyone else tried paverpol? I've not heard many people mention it.
I've heard of it online, but have never used it.
I am interested in what the ingredients are, but my very old computer can no longer open .pdf files, and that's where the info seems to be.
Jackie, would you mind googling "Paverpol fabric hardener material safety data sheet Dharma Trading Company" and letting me know what it says?
It was just fine. Thank you!
As far as I can tell without being a scientist, plain Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA, also called White Glue) dries softer, and Paverpol is stiffer when dry, often used with fabric to make them rigid.
It appears that if you want complete rigidity, give Paverpol a try. There also seems to be a Canadian product called Powertex Fabric Hardener.
I realize this is an old thread, but just in case...
One thing I don't see mentioned here is the Italian practice of crushing the glue-dipped paper. At the studio I studied at this summer, they used a mixture of wallpaper paste with a bit of PVA added to make a thin soup of glue, dipped the ripped paper in the glue, then crushed it up, squeezing out excess glue, and then carefully opening up the crushed ball of paper. The result is a strong, glue-infused paper that is very flexible and conforms more easily to the mold. I also saw this technique being used at a couple of the mask shops I visited in Venice.
Perhaps you're already doing this and I just missed that part in my reading, but if not, give it a try! Also, they did not use the wool paper but a 100% cotton art paper (much more expensive! $4 US a sheet and up). I just ordered some of the wool-based cartalana from that English kitchen-supply house, and look forward to seeing what it's like.
I've never heard of that crushed paper technique. Something else to try!
Carta lana is only called that in Italy. To the rest of the world, it's 100% cotton moleskin, available in the U.S. in certain fabric stores, and online. Just make sure you order the 100% cotton type, not any type of blend.
See my post here: http://www.papiermache.co.uk/forum/view … hp?id=3479
I haven't used Paverpol but did see it being used in Holland when I was on a doll making workshop. It was very effective and results seemed to withstand the weather.
The effectiveness of quality cotton based paper is that it is strong and absorbent and very manipulable in its damp state. It is also very expensive. An alternative is the brown wrapping paper that Amazon in UK send out in reams in its boxes. You know that I advocate the wallpaper glue (or, better, CMC) + PVA mix as the paste. The dip and squeeze method should work very well. Even stronger is to lay three or four layers of the paper, each brushed well with paste, then to squeeze them tight (a rolling pin?) to remove surplus paste. You can then tear off pieces and lay them on the mold.
Apicella's post about crumpled paper brings another idea to mind.
Some time back, I was reading about someone doing something (I can't remember EVERYTHING!) that involved crumpled paper. They would wad it into a ball, then smooth it out, then wad it into a ball again. After several times, the paper became soft, almost like fabric.
I didn't think of it for PM then, but I am now. Crumpling it dry, then dipping it into adhesive would seem to be easier than trying to open the mass without tearing it after it's wet. And the flexibility of it should be easier to mold to curved shapes.