History of Masks

Mask’s have been a part of many societies all over the
world for many years and for many reasons. The concept of Spirit Masks came to me approximately a year after unsuccessfully attempting to make a mask for the Nebraska Arts Council’s  charity ball. Try as I may the mask didn’t materialize until several months later, not of my choosing to do but rather a need level.  From then on I couldn’t stop, and as I shared with others they too wanted to make a mask which began my facilitating workshops and having a brochure created. 

Story and Creation of Spirit Masks

There may be times when words alone do not express our true feelings, thoughts or emotions. Spirit masks speak louder than words, they give me insight as to my many gifts and qualities.  As I facilitate retreats and workshops I’ve discovered the same is true for others as well.

As of today I have over 30 masks that are each individual and unique.  I’ve never made a decision to make a mask, but get a gut feeling that one wants to be created.  So I scurry up to my studio, get my treasures around me and anxiously await what will be created. 

  I am the physical instrument in the partnering of each mask. The revelation and message is truly amazing, I’ve discovered the healing power and the gift within each mask.  Within the workshops for adults & children that I’ve been privileged to teach I’ve experienced the same revelation for each individual.  I hear how intimidated students feel if they don’t have a plan or idea.  I assure them that’s good, all they need is to be imaginative, creative, intuitive, daring and open for what comes.  To witness their delight & surprise with their mask and listen to their story and what they glean  is reward for me. The masks I make tell a story, coming from the heart rather than the head. The image reveals my various qualities and gifts.  They express my feelings, thoughts and emotions - words aren’t always sufficient.  To this day I’ve made over 30 masks, each unique and different, they are spiritual, revealing, insightful, and rewarding.  I like to refer to the process as going on an archeological dig, gently and patiently sifting through the layers to discover the gift

No two masks have been the same.  Masks usually name themselves as well as to bring a message expressing your spirit, a truly magical experience.  Mask’s are made utilizing purchased paper maché forms or plaster bandages to cover your face.  After the plaster dries the decorating begins, using recycled items found in the home, outdoors, paint, imagination and a free spirit.  

How “All Decked Out” came into being  

When I made “All Decked Out” there wasn’t a  pre-conceived concept of what it would look like or what her name would be, the process is totally intuitive.  One day I felt a need to create, a gut feeling if you will, so I went to the studio and began gathering paint, handmade papers, recycled items, pieces of personal and sentimental value and placed them on the work space.  From that point I just began selecting and placing things until it felt right. Mostly they complete themselves in one day but I’ve had several that have taken weeks into months. Working in this way is a great break from the planning I do when I paint.  This method works in much the same manner in paper making.

“All Decked Out” reveals my playful, non-conservative nature and my love of color. As I’m working with my hands there’s also some working going on within...such as the meaning behind the mask as well as a name.  The message this mask revealed was my love of color, I can be playful and silly, at times outrageous.  Some of these qualities had been well hidden for various reasons but gratifying, freeing and healing to discover!  The emotions I felt while in the creative process were that of joy, surprise, delight and awe! A book written by author “Sark”  titled “Living Juicy” was inspirational....this book encouraged me to let my “free spirit” live.  Placing the mask on my face made it easier bringing out that side of self. 


In essence masking brings forth the unexpected, there’s discovery, wonder and joy within the process of creating a mask.  All that is needed you’ll find in your home or outside, from mostly found objects and pieces you have that are of sentimental value. Masking can be done by all, any age, male or female or non-artist.  You need no specific talent or qualifications, only an openness to have fun, be imaginative, curious, and let your creative spirit take over.


A picture is worth a thousand words

“I believe the making of masks can help transcend some of the limitations of our human conditioning and allow us to play out some deeper parts of ourselves.  Reveal then Heal.”   Dottie Seymour