Sunday, August 23, 2009


Croneletta's Mask altered book, front cover - click on picture to enlarge it.

I have wanted to make masks for about 25 years after I first watched a PBS documentary about a woman from New Mexico who made beautiful plaster masks of people. The half hour program had me riveted. There was something so profound about capturing a few minutes in someone's life. I realized that the mask was about revealing and not hiding our inner selves as the emotional and psychic/energetic state of the person was so clearly captured in their mask. I think we humans waste an awful lot of time wearing a mask (or multiple masks!) to try and hide our authentic selves. One of the reasons I love Nature so much is that it is what it is - a dog is a dog and doesn't put on a cat's mask; an oak tree doesn't wear the skin of a beech tree; and pigs don't fly. Or even attempt to fly.

I made a mask while attending The Council of All Beings weekend retreat in Sonoma County back in the late '80s - or was it 1990? I can't remember. I do remember how profound the experience was. We all had to make a mask of the non human entity who "chose" us to speak for them. Mine was Owl.

Then in the early 2000s, I discovered Kaleo Ching who makes amazing masks. I'm sorry that I never had the opportunity to attend any of his workshops when I lived in the Bay Area. His Flickr page has some wonderful pictures of his and his students' creations. Worth a peek.

In 1993, I went to beauty school, where we did lots of masques - another way of working with a person's face! I enjoyed the experience, although I never went into the business after receiving my license as an aesthetician. When I was a child, I wanted to go to beauty school, but my mother, being who she was, thought that "only stupid girls go to beauty school."

Really? Would you trust a stupid girl with chemicals next to your hair? Unlikely.

The reason I went to beauty school at such a late date was that I had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 1991 and I thought, "If I am going to die, I'm going to beauty school first!" Thankfully, I didn't die. I never regretted leaving the corporate world for a few months in order to do this. I still maintain a strong interest in natural cosmetics, including fragrance.

And, I still have a strong desire to learn mask making.

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