Nephele and the Tin Man

Two new masks on Etsy:

click on image to go to my Etsy shop

click on image to go to my Etsy shop


click on image to go to my Etsy shop

click on image to go to my Etsy shop

The papers for these two masks are of particular interest to me. Nephele is folded from a different paper than the usual elephant hide. I purchased some Khepera paper some time ago from an arts supply store in Germany to try out as an alternative to elephant hide. It is bookbinding paper like elephant hide and has roughly the same weight. It also has some interesting characteristics. It’s thermoreactive – The paper contains little plastic fibers that melt under a heat and darken the paper. The purpose is for bookbinders to use a heated embossing tool to make darkened stamped designs in the paper.

khepera basketweave

You can see in this model the effect when I folded a basketweave design and then applied heat to the back of the piece only. The background darkened and became smooth when the thermo-sensitive fibers melted, while the foreground retained it’s original lighter color and rougher texture.

An unexpected quality of this paper that I discovered while preparing to fold the Nephele mask is that bleach turns the blue paper lavender! The bleached paper doesn’t darken when you heat it, but when the plastic fibers melt and then cool, the paper becomes quite rigid. Very useful for making masks.

The tin man is just plain old reliable elephant hide, but I made a special effort to make it more interesting. I wanted this mask to look like old metal.

tin man close up

I sprayed and splattered an underpainting of blue, green, red, orange and black inks  and then sponged metallic and iridescent glazes onto gray elephant hide paper after folding the grid but before folding the mask. Using inks and dyes for most of the color, I can create layers of depth without adding layers of thickness to the paper, and the final metallic surface is provided by an acrylic glaze which is flexible enough that it doesn’t impede folding.





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