Becoming the Greenman

I made a Greenman/Oak King mask for Beltaine this year. I wanted to go into the process a bit more. The mask turned out way nicer than I had dared to hope. Creating the mask was nothing short of a spiritual experience. Putting on the mask once it was completed was powerful and inspiring. I want to continue to attune with the Oak and Holly King archetypes. My next project is a Holly King mask.

When I started this project I felt rushed for time and I was on a tight budget. I’m going to make my Holly King mask the same way, just so that they are more of a pair. In future thought I will try a different technique, and hopefully produce more of a finished product. I really have no complaints on this process. Here is what I did.

  • I started off by making a mould of my face into a large sheet of aluminium foil which I folded in half to make it stronger.
  • I stuffed the hollow of the mould with wadded up paper and plastic bags from the recycling and placed it on a bed of newspaper on the table.
  • I made some simple paper mache paste with flour and water.
  • I cut green construction paper into strips, dipped them into the paste, than laid them across the face mould.
  • I tried to form them as best as I could to the flimsy aluminium foil. Once I was done I put the foil with the paper back on my face and pressed it back into my face to correct the shape. You may need to repeat the process of wetting and reforming the mask until you’re happy with the shape.
  • Once I was happy with the shape and the form was strong enough I waited till it was dry.
  • While I waited for the mask to dry I drew out 4 shapes of Oak leaves and then created stencils for them out of the side of a plastic milk jug.
  • I traced and cut out what seemed like hundreds of leaves out of green construction paper.
  • In order to give the mask some texture I decided I needed some leaves that were stronger than one layer of paper. I used some of the paste to glue two pieces of construction paper together. The leaves made with the double layer were nice and strong but still flexible.
  • When I was done cutting leaves and the mask was dry I cut out the eyes and the area under the nose. I left the area around the chin because I had not decided how the leaves were going to be laid around the face.
  • I painted the base mask a hunter green. I wasn’t really happy with the colour to start with. It had a plastic look that just didn’t seem to fit with the image of an organic Greenman.
  • I tried a few leaf layouts. Than finally decided that I would glue leaves that were most important first. I tried to arrange the leaves so that they would look like they were coming from the eyes, nose and mouth.
  • I filled in extra leaves overlapping them with each other and added an extra piece onto the nose that worked out well later.
  • After laying out the base of leaves I trimmed the unwanted parts of the edges of the mask.
  • I used some of the double layer leaves for the eyebrows and cheeks. They worked well and held their shape in order to give the mask some texture.
  • I played around with more leaf placements. I wanted to have a solid idea of what I wanted before I went any further.
  • I painted the partially finished mask, and painted some leaves separately. What I did with the paint this time was that I made very light coats alternating between hunter green and gold. I got a nice shading that had shadowed texture and shimmered in the sun.
  • Something was missing so I tried painting gold veins on the leaves. The painting looked terrible. I just couldn’t get a sharp enough line. Than I remembered that I had some metallic gold pens. I drew veins on the mask and the unattached leaves and it turned out great.
  • I glued the final leaves into place and folded them a bit up the center and on the edged to give it a more natural look.
  • I sanded the inside of the mask a bit to get rid of the excess dried mache paste.
  • For the strap to hold it on I made some taps with construction paper and folded them onto the ends of some sewing elastic. I used a glue gun to attach them to the inside of the mask.
  • The dark green underlayer worked out well in the end. It added to the overall texture.
  • I love the finished product. The only thing I wish I had done was to line the inside of the mask with something to make it more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

Happy crafting and remember to invoke the Greenman.



~ by Solaren on July 27, 2009.

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