Old One

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“Old One” – this is the very first mask I created. It was made by pressing coiled clay into a plaster mold made from my own face. I was experimenting and was very pleased by what I saw when I released the form from the mold. The crown was made from a band of clay added to the face, then stamp embossed.

I’ve always found archaeology fascinating. My own family history is largely Irish and I love the curvilinear shapes of ancient Irish art. As I looked at this, it reminded me of a funerary mask of a chieftain, or perhaps the mask of a forest spirit.

This piece is at least 30 years old and while I can’t recall all the details, I do know I used a stoneware clay, coils were made using an extruder. I mixed black oxide with “magic water” (a combination of water, sodium silicate and soda ash), then painted the mixture over the entire form to pick up the texture. When fired, that combination gave this piece its worn smooth finish.