The practice of mask-wearing has a long history, even becoming mandatory in times of global crisis. In this useful contribution to the performing arts curriculum, Maskword: The Background, Making and Use of Masks takes a new look at the creative and timeless art of masks and mask-making, while also exploring their cultural anthropology from prehistory to the present day.
Drawing on her extensive experience in professional theatre and running workshops, Foreman promotes the life-affirming qualities of masks, providing us with an invaluable resource for artists and teachers, as well as parents seeking activities for children at home. Eight themed projects use photographs to document masks and mask-making techniques, with each one offering practical advice and design ideas; materials are inexpensive and easy to acquire.
With photographs by Richard Penton.
About the Author
Jennifer Foreman graduated in English and Drama from Hull University and went on to study at the Laban Art Of Movement Centre. She began her professional career as an actor/teacher in theatre and education in London. She became Head of Performing Arts and Assistant Head of an inner-city school until her retirement. Following this she took up a teacher training position in post-graduate Teacher Education, which she left in 2015. Maskwork springs from her experience working with professional theatre performers and students of different ages, abilities, and backgrounds.
Acknowledgements of Photographs
What are Masks?
Masks as Resources
Planning a Project
Project 1: First Steps
Exploring the medium, tools and skills before making a mask. An ‘ice-breaker’ or forerunner to paper maskmaking for all ages.
Project 2: Shape-Masks
Improvising with paper construction to create masks ranging from the simple to the spectacular.
Project 3: Changing Faces
Making a plate mask as a lively ‘way in’ to character work and physical theatre techniques.
Project 4: Symmetry & Collage
Making symmetrical half-masks and full-face collage masks (built up from magazine images) with activities combining drama and the other arts.
Project 5: Theatre, Mask & Myth
Devising drama productions based on myths and involving the construction of full-face (helmet-masks) and head-masks (crest-headdress masks) using traditional models.
Project 6: Character & Commedia
Exploring paper gum-strip techniques to create masks of professional standard on any theme or character (human, animal or fantasy). Commedia dell’arte is given as an example.
Project 7: Gods, Dragons & Demons
A resource chapter of mask-making ideas and activities inspired by mythological archetypes, suitable for festivals, parades and plays.
Project 8: Masquerade
Suggestions for mask-making techniques involving papier-mâché, clay, plaster of Paris and fibreglass.
Endorsements and Reviews
One of the main strengths of this book lies in the author’s ability to present complex philosophical issues in a very pragmatic way … Practical advice is purposefully presented in the context of much wider and more complex issues relating to cultural identity, human expression and communication; the underlying issues that place masks in their social, cultural and spiritual context. It reminds us of the importance of critical appreciation, self-expression and a moving away from the all too familiar process-based approach to teaching art and design. These are the qualities that give Maskwork its heightened significance for art and design education.
Mary Greenacre, in The Journal of Art and Design Education, Vol 20.2