Paper Mache Masks

Matt Lyon’s Paper Mache Theater Masks

volpone theater masks

We have a real treat today – Matt Lyon gave me permission to post an email he sent to me last week, along with photos of some fabulous masks he made for a recent theater production.

And now, here’s Matt and those wonderful masks. Click on any of the smaller images to see them full-sized:

Hi Jonni,

I’m Matt Lyon, a Theatre teacher at the School of the Arts, Singapore. I just thought I’d share with you some photos from a production of “Volpone” by Ben Jonson that I recently directed and designed masks for.

“Volpone” is a kind of twisted fable in which a rich man, Volpone (the Fox), wants to be even richer, so he rolls over on his back and pretends to be gravely ill.

Then all the greedy fortune hunters in town (the Vulture, the Raven and the Crow) gather round to peck at his soon-to-be carcass. They bring him valuable gifts, hoping that when he dies, he’ll bequeath them all his riches.

Of course, Volpone, assisted by his wily servant Mosca (the Fly), has no intention of dying anytime soon!

The play is not often done in masks, and even when it is, the masks tend to be traditional-ish, commedia-style human masks; but I thought it would be fun – and a good learning experience for my student performers – to do it with animal masks. And my Year 4 students (16 years old) really took to the masks and got into their characters, as I think you can see from the photos…

Anyway, thanks for the method in your book and your videos! My old way of making masks was vastly inferior, and I really couldn’t have managed this show without you…

Matt

You may also like:

How I painted the Unicorn.Unicorn Pattern
Hyena Mask PatternHyena Mask Pattern
Life Sized Paper Mache Baby ElephantLife-Sized Baby Elephant

11 Comments

  • JONNIE, THE LION HEAD YOU MADE A RUBBER MOLD FOR YOURSELF IS THE ONE I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR. CAN YOU SELL ME YOUR OLD MOLD OR A. FINISHED COPY?
    I WANTED TO MAKE A FENCE POST FOUNTAIN AND A DOOR HEAD BUT YOU CAPTURED THE LOOK THAT I WANTED BUT.DONT HAVE THE TALENT TO CREATE.
    PLEASE EMAIL A REPLY AND I WILL SEND THE PAYMENT. THANK YOU. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.
    RICKBAIBAK@HOTMAIL.COM

    POST

    • Hi Rick. I shipped the mold to my dad, who makes a lot of concrete garden art. You might be able to find someone in your town who would make one for you.

  • Thanks, everyone!

    Sarah: I’m glad you said that because it’s exactly what I was aiming for!

    Bwana: I used Super Sculpey to sculpt the moulds, as described in Jonni’s mask-making book. It’s oven-dry only, which means you can either not bake it and then reuse the Sculpey for a different mask, or you can bake it and have a permanent positive mould. (I did the latter for the mandrills because there are three of them. )

    Christine: I have the masks arranged in my cubicle at school. I’ve used them a couple of times since the show to teach our younger students how to work with masks, so it’s convenient to keep them there…

    “Volpone” was a performance, not a production project for the Year 4s, so they only acted in the masks, and didn’t help me make them. But I have started teaching them how to make masks is a separate module, and they’re having fun!

  • Those masks are very well done and I bet the kids had a blast using them. They should hang in a place of honor where other students can enjoy looking at them. Have the kids had a hand in making them?

  • Great masks Matt!

    Is sculpey the material you used to sculpt the originals? Is it air drying or an oven baked clay? Love the finish on the masks and the detail on the litlle Maquette is awsome!

    Well done to you and your colleagues!

Leave a Comment

Heads up! You are attempting to upload an invalid image. If saved, this image will not display with your comment.

Heads up! You are attempting to upload a file that's too large. Please try a smaller file smaller than 250KB.

Note that images greater than 250KB will not be uploaded.

116 Shares
Tweet
Share12
Pin104
+1