Contribution from Graeme Douglas.
By day I assist young entrepreneurs to start up their business, by night I take redundant unwanted materials and create masks and props. I can vividly remember my early maker experiences, I used to create small mazes from Lego that I would chase marbles around. This later progressed into my fascination with woodwork, studied furniture design and within a few years, I began work as a professional cabinet maker. Product design was the natural progression and once I obtained my honors degree I had the chance to run a design studio. I became gluttonous in my desire to try as many creative processes as possible; Photography, graphics, vinyl design and manufacture, animation, film, jewelry, fashion, and poetry. I’ve dabbled in electronics but was never able to master the soldering iron. Over the course of my professional career, I’ve found myself with less time creating 3dimensional objects. My nine to five job allows me to apply my creative thinking process and I enjoy the ability I have to generate innovative solutions to the problems faced by the organisations many departments. There was still something missing…..the cathartic process and satisfaction of creating something were missing. All of a sudden my sons Halloween costume became a 12-week build with Gantt charts and project meetings and fittings! It became clear that I wanted to get making again.
A few years back I started making some masks, I’ve always had a passion for taking waste and generating high-quality products. Cardboard is a material that I’ve exploited for a manner of projects over the years. Whilst making masks I had stumbled across Pepakura online and found a host of free templates. I downloaded a few and began to learn the process of sculpting card. Within the first hour of piecing together a mask I was hooked, for years I’ve drawn the human form. I’ve also honed my hand skills, the process of building the masks seemed to be the next creative development of my practice. After making one or two masks I began to realise that many of the templates seemed to hint at the original masks. I felt they lack some detail so I started to add more layers and relief to the masks, the results have been really well received.
It wasn’t until I had the chance to show some of my work at an event held by Artronix at Glasgow University that I began to share some of the creations I’d made. People started to see the masks and before I knew it I’d been asked to exhibit some work. I’ve literally just downloaded a template (http://dali-lomo.blogspot.com/2013/08/captain-america-diy-helmet-part-1.html) so lets see how it goes!
So the first model I made used double core corrugated card, not keen on the finish. So quickly mocked up another with probably my favorite type of cardboard, cereal box. Not only is it the most important meal of the day, the cereal box is perfect for sculpting. The mask has a far better finish. I’ve found some videos on YouTube that utilize this the template, I really like the masks produced by Dali Lomo (http://dali-lomo.blogspot.com/). If you are interested in making masks I would highly recommend you start here, I struggled for weeks painstakingly trying to piece together templates. These guys videos show you step by step the best way to assemble. On his make of this template he used some wall filler, it dried out and cracked really badly. I think that its because he has applied the filler straight onto the cardboard. I’m gonna use tissue paper to mache the mask prior to my first attempt at using filler on a mask.
That’s the masks ready for filling. As a product designer, I’ve seen my fair share of filling! And as a cabinet maker, I’ve had a lot of experience in shaping materials. Still nervous but let’s see how it goes.
I applied the filler and let it dry overnight, some of the filler cracked along the nose section of the mask. It seems the surface area the filler was covering is too small and flexible. I had to reinforce this with tissue paper and the applied some more filler a the edges to allow a smoother finish! A quick coat of watered down PVA will be applied as a sealer whilst I work on what designs I will apply.
I’ve settled for a “back to the future” concept with these two masks. A traditional design and a more modern design will be applied, this will allow me to show the skills that I’ve been learning. I will need to generate templates for the sections that will allow me to add the details and relief required for the modern design. Whilst sanding the masks I’ve been developing a plan for a stand, its going to add something a little extra to the display.
Its time to start work on the templates for the modern design, stay tuned for the next masquerade!