25 January 2008

life mask (part 1)

another long delayed project was making a life mask of myself. this is the kind of thing i'd do as a kid, and i've been feeling rather kidlike lately.

here are the instructions:

1. find a studio with faux hardwood floor that will not be damaged. strip to the waist to prevent damage to clothing.

2. mix up a stainless steel bowl full of plaster of paris.

3. grease hair and face with petroleum jelly.

4. stand in tile bathroom and smear fluid plaster of paris all over face, leaving only eyes and nose. this starts out thin, but as the plaster begins to set the stuff goes on thicker and thicker and begins to form a cohesive mask.

5. when plaster feels masklike, go lie down on the cold floor with the stainless container over yer head, and scoop wads of plaster evenly all over your face. cover eyes and nose, making sure to insert straws into nostrils so you can breathe.

6. as plaster begins to harden, lie very still. remain stoic when your wife comes in, makes sarcastic remarks, and takes pictures of your helpless state.

7. once plaster warms up and becomes very hard, rip it slowly from your face, taking whiskers, scalp hair, nose hair and eyelashes along with it. (blow through mouth to release suction.) spend 15 minutes rinsing plaster grit from your eyes, nose, ears, hands.

8. clean plaster splattered walls, sink, counter, mirror in bathroom; scrape dried plaster from faux hardwood floor; chip plaster out of stainless bowl.

9. remove belt, chase mocking wife down the road.

for the finished mask, see the posting for february 8.

POSTSCRIPT ADDED FEBRUARY 12: i met an artist today in a sebastopol gallery who does life castings of faces and torsos. she recommended plaster impregnated gauze, the kind used by doctors to wrap broken limbs, for the mould; then a thick sheet of sculptor's clay, pressed into the mould by hand, for the mask. the clay can also be modified or ornamented with sculpting tools and glazes, then fired to make a finished piece.

1 comment:

Nick said...

Lots of things come to mind....none of them appropriate for the Blogosphere general audience. You look totally ridiculous, but I admit I'm going to try this. Then what do ya do with the mask?