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Leather Mask Workshop Report

by Michael Park, Treasurer on January 31, 2013

in Events,Make

New Jigsaw member Tamara led a workshop on making leather masks, and I attended. The first step was creating the outline of the mask. After several iterations of sketching designs on paper and cutting them out, I ended up with something I thought was reasonable. I traced the design onto a piece of vegetable-tanned leather and then cut it out with a very sharp blade. (I’m used to cutting things like balsa wood, so I found leather to be much more of a challenge!)

The next step was to wet the leather and apply a texture to it. I chose a piece of shoe-soling that, when pressed into the wet leather, left a nice stipple pattern.

I then had to shape the mask to fit my face. This was accomplished by holding the mask up to my face and pressing it with my fingers to conform to my nose, cheeks, forehead, etc. Leather is quite flexible when wet, but after drying (a rather long and tedious process with a blow-dryer) it stiffens up and holds its shape nicely. I applied a few coats of paint and riveted on a couple of thin strips of leather, and suddenly I had completed my first handcrafted leather mask! Thank you, Tamara, for showing me how!

(N.B. I’ve given just the broad outlines of the process. Attend Tamara’s next workshop and learn all the nitty-gritty details.)

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