Illusionist

Front of toilet-paper half-mask. It has the appearance of rough turquoise and seven points on the top like a crown.

Primary materials: Toilet paper, glue, acrylic paint.

On several occasions an element of one mask will inspire another. In this case, having previously used a little toilet paper as a supplementary building material in a project, I wanted to see if I could make an entire mask out of it.

I knew from before that toilet paper is a little weaker than paper napkins. To counteract this I used a stronger glue mixture, and avoided long thin elements that are more likely to crack off. Like other papier-mache masks of this general type, I made this using a clay face-form to get the basic shape.

From a quality of life perspective toilet paper blends up really easily and seems to dry faster than some other paper-based materials.

Right angle view. The design is minimalist. Surface texture is prominent.

Arguably my previous mask, Nocturne, could be considered less than completely friendly looking. So I decided to go in a different direction and make something more even and traditional and not sinister. A simple design also made sense to me because of the experimental nature of this—I wanted to make something quick and easy to test out the idea.

Because it is so blank I didn’t know how to paint it for a while. So I left it alone and worked on something else. Eventually I got the idea to do turquoise, which I thought would work well with the texture of the mask. I had never painted turquoise before so had to do some research, paint mixing, and purchasing new paints, but I think it came out pretty well.

I put felt in the eyes for these pictures. This can be taken out and replaced with mesh, or the eyes kept open. The straps are not sewn into the slots on this one. Instead, it is supposed to be worn with a longer elastic strap or ribbon that’s either knotted at the back or on each side at the slots.