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Hi I am wanting to run a mask making workshop but it has to be a one day event. The problem I am having is working out how to fit it all into a day ! If I use papier mache I dont think it will dry in time to paint and decorate in the afternoon. Is there any one out there (!) who has any tips or advice on how i could dry it out faster or any other light weight cost effective medium i could use instead of papier mache. Thank you Emma
How are you intending to make the basic shapes? If you use flexible cardboard and PVA (white glue) it will dry very quickly. Superimposed shapes can be in paper, again with PVA. If you want to bulk it out, carveable foam is useful. With this type of method it could be achieved in a day. Does this fit in with your plans?
Or are you asking on behalf of a hairpin link???
If you are experienced enough in maskmaking to give a workshop, one might think that you would know that they take time to make. The only quick alternative I know would be to use pre-formed plastic masks and decorate them, like you would for kids.
Have you tried Jonni Good's papier mache recipe? It incorporates plaster of paris which I've found really speeds up the drying process; in summer I could paint masks after an hour or two drying time. She's made a three-part video series on how to make venetian style masks with it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSjsX_Ujefo
I regularly sculpt and paint papier mache projects in a day, or less, so, it can be done.
If you're in a hurry, the application of heat can be used to dry papier mache quickly. I've used candle flames, woodburners, and oil stoves to do that, but my figures are generally small to begin with, so it doesn't take much to dry them out. I should also add that I don't use any water in my papier mache, just undiluted glue, so they're not very soggy to begin with. And, of course, I must warn you that paper is highly flammable, so using a strong heat source or open flames to dry it is not something to do without due care and constant supervision.
The main problem with drying thin objects like masks is that if they dry too fast, they warp.
Patraw's figures look pretty solid, so quicker drying may not affect them much.
That's correct, my papier mache sculptures are usually solid, rather than hollow constructs. I agree that warpage of thin papier mache objects is often an issue as they dry (or even after they're dry when you paint them). I imagine that if one had a form to place it upon while heating it, like a mannequin head, that warpage could be minimalized in the case of a mask.
Years ago, I can recall making a skull mask out of paper pulp for a college course, and, frustrated that it was taking too long to dry, I attempted to bake it in a gas oven, and it promptly went and fell apart on me. Much profanity ensued, and I ended up having to redo it with newsprint strips instead. However, as the project required the use of paper pulp, I ended up "cheating" by applying a thin veneer of pulp on top of the strips to satisfy the parameters of the assignment.
An interesting development . . . but I notice that Emma 'babayaga', who initiated this thread, has not been back. Has she read the responses and advice, I wonder?
I also conduct 2 hour workshop in making paper mache maks in the Mexican Tradition. I know that 2 hours is not really long enough for the paper mache forms to dry. I set up other workshops later in the month or even year for art attendees who want further instruction in painting and more detailed forms.
I have to admit, dryers and other materials that I have used to make the process a bit faster have changed and even warped the forms! I will try the plaster of Paris mix for one of the classes to see what happens.
Frankly, I am starting to think, the only solution is the hot Californian Sun!
Diego Marcial Rios
Take Care and God Bless you all! Viva Arte!
With such time limitations, I would be more inclined to call them "seminars", and just talk, showing your pre-made step-by-step examples so they know what to expect. Include written instructions and recipes.