Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fallen Angels

I love to draw leaves and on this mask I went a little crazy! Autumn is my favorite season with leaves falling all around in a gentle hurricane: reminding me of cycles and renewal. The leaves make me think of falling angels touching us on the way down and softening the path ahead...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Back to Nature

Before beginning this mask, I was thinking about how weeds grow through cracks in the sidewalk and how tree roots can lift the foundation of a house. Nature is a force that doesn't seem to be deterred by all our man made structures. Of course, it is continually restrained and restricted, but eventually (if left alone) it will overtake all. I like the idea of nature being the winner in this scenario....

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Face Mask

This mask seems like a timely additon to my blog collection - face masks are big news right now! However, I wasn't thinking about disease prevention when I made this piece. For me, face coverings and veils suggest hiding something or protection from others. And this mask is meant to be a metaphor for vulnerability. Would that it were so simple to protect oneself!

I've been working steadily in the studio but finding it difficult to start anything new. It's not that I don't have ideas, but something is holding me back!? It might have to do with a lack of pressure.....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Midas Touch

This mask is based on the mythical King Midas and carries the message that we should be careful what we wish for: yet another theme I'm fond of using. I try to be content with my life and who I am, but can't help but think what if? What if...... and of course, that lead to wishing. I sure wish I wouldn't do that!

This is an older piece and I'm sure I had a reason for the coin on top of the head - but I can't remember exactly why I put it there. It probably has something to do with mechanical functions and automatic responses.....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Coming in For a Landing

This mask resided for quite a while on the homepage of my website - until finally being replaced by the "Blue Queen". The only thing that the two have in common, besides my own favoritism, is their "crowns".

Coming in For a Landing was the beginning of Birdgirl in mask form. As you probably already know, Birdgirl is one of my alter egos and I use her to express many of the emotions and questions I have. This piece is a bit sad, I know: her twig crown has lost its leaves and become tears. Although the leaves cannot be replaced, they can fall to earth to be reborn while Birdgirl continues on her way....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Here's another piece about growth and beginnings. I think of the mind as fertile ground for all the seeds that have been planted. In this mask, the ideas have taken a physical form - a fitting metaphor for the mask itself. What remains to be seen is the fully realized idea.....and what it becomes is not as important as the process.

Back to the studio to contemplate some new beginnings!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Faded Beauty

Here's the follow up piece to "American Beauty", done about two years after. In this mask, the rose has lost some petals....and will continue to lose them. It seems an obvious message, and yet as the rose fades there is still the opportunity to bask in the sun and enjoy its warmth till dark fall.

This is one theme that I probably won't continue - for what is left but a pile of petals? That's a little too close to the dark side for me. And although I can't deny its presence, I don't care to focus on it......

Thursday, April 16, 2009

American Beauty

Since the roses in my yard are either blooming or soon to bloom, I thought it was time to bring out this tribute to roses mask from 2003. I happen to think that people and roses have a lot in common - at least metaphorically: I'm thinking specifically of the stages of growth unfolding in their own time and season. A fully open rose seems symbolic of all that is at its peak, both lovely and fragile. It seems a shame to cut them....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Just a Drop in the Bucket

Sometimes I feel so small. When I consider how big the world is, how many people there are and how much wonderful art has been created (among other things), my own insignificance whacks me upside the head. We're all just small drops in a very large bucket. When the bucket becomes full, the hand of fate tips it to allow so many more drops.

So many tests in the works this week. I may show some here soon - if all goes well!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In a Blind

With this mask, I'm using the "Hunter" as metaphor. Hunters establish a blind so as to be invisible to their prey, but this hunter is using it as a means of blending in to an uncaring world. Perhaps by keeping our true selves hidden, we will be more able to hunt the elusive enlightenment that beckons from the edge of the forest.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hidden Resources

I've been relying heavily on masks from the past lately - they are becoming my not so hidden resource! This mask is one of my earliest hinged pieces and I can still remember the agonies of construction: the pieces never seem to fit together in seemingly obvious ways.

The idea behind this mask is one of inspiration. Where does it come from anyway? For me, the little head inside represents that inner voice we all possess. One can close it up behind the mental doors, or let it out to whisper in our ears. Forever listening to the inner voice is a bit like leaving Pandora's box open.....

Friday, April 10, 2009

Second Sight

Possessing second sight is supposed to be about having the ability to foresee the future. I've given this mask extra powers with a little help from two more sets of eyes! The background of the main face is meant to be a table cloth or other everyday kind of fabric that is so familiar, we barely notice it. This puts the focus on the windows of the soul and the magic that can be revealed behind them.

I'm not sure if I fully believe in the idea of prophetic vision, but I like to think we're capable of more than what is commonly accepted.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Is having some sort of strategy a good thing? I'm not so sure about that! Seems to me that the word implies games and winning. And if it is applied to a life....what a sorry state. Of course, it's nice to feel the winner sometimes, but if life is a game then there must also be losers.

While making this mask, I was definitely thinking of the corporate world (in which I worked for a few years a very long time ago). I consider myself quite fortunate to have escaped! So, does that make me the winner????

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I've always enjoyed word games and palindromes. That is what led me to this piece: the challenge of creating a visual palindrome! Actually, this was one of the easier challenges I've given myself and the mask dictated in which direction it wanted to go. The harlequin element had to be included - perhaps to suggest the folly of such an idea, but more likely to emphasize the mirror image. It's hard to say why my subconscious moves one way or the other.

Most of my work begins with this type of challenge. It is then given over to a myriad of subconscious ramblings until my hands finally connect with my brain. Whew.....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Waiting in the Wings

I recently found this idiomatic definition of the title: If someone is waiting in the wings, they are in the background, but nearby, ready to act on short notice. I feel, sometimes, like that is how I spend a lot of my life - ever waiting and ever ready.....but for what!? I wanted this mask to show a little of the apprehention and anxiety that this condition can create.

I hope someday to come out from behind the wings and use them to better purpose.....

Monday, April 6, 2009


I've done a number of masks that focus on the idea of metaphysical change. This leads me back to opposites time and time again. And when thinking of opposites, I can't help but feel that it is a circular sort of logic at work in my mind. Thus, colors merge and cause and effect become united.

This is an older piece (from 2002) ... a good one to think about as Winter morphs into Spring and brown turns to green. I sign out today with a quote from Goethe:
"Human life runs its course in the metamorphosis between receiving and giving."

Friday, April 3, 2009

Life is But a Dream

Isn't it? If I were to have a "theme song", this would be it. This simple childhood song plays on a continuous loop in the back of my mind. Occasionally, I'm confused about whether life is the dream or the dream is life. Either way, it's a fine journey!

I purposely left the boat empty of passengers.....there's room for you to get on board if you like.

And so, it's Friday....not much to say about that.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What Goes Around.....

...comes around. This is a concept that usually puts me a bit on edge. I mean, really - haven't most of us done things we're not proud of? It is those "things" that inspired this mask. I spend a lot of time thinking about the best way to get an idea across using the face as a medium. Of course, some of these portrayals are more successful than others and this mask is, perhaps, a little on the obscure side. Without the title, the viewer might just be clueless!

I like the idea of a wind driven existence, but must keep in mind that the wind could change direction at any moment.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Glazed Look

This is one of my most unusual pieces. What makes it so is that it was fired in the big noborigama (four chambered, climbing, wood-fired kiln) at the Ceramics Institute in Shigaraki, Japan. This kiln is only fired twice a year by a ceramics group from Kyoto. It was an honor to work with the group through the entire process of making, bisque, three day firing and unloading. A ceramics friend from Denmark and I had a midnite to 6am shift stoking the fire (along with the Japanese fire master). It was an experience I will never forget - and I don't think they will either!

When the mask emerged from the kiln, I felt it was finished. That could be the most unusual aspect of the piece since I normally do three or four more firings to build up layers of color and glaze. This is one mask I will never voluntarily part with!