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The Bark Mask Revisited

By Paul Watson on .

I started making the Bark Mask back in 2012, and used the early version in a series of photographs (Bark Mask 01, Bark Mask 02, Bark Mask 03).

It started from a shop-bought papier-mâché mask blank and two large sections of tree bark scavenged from two felled trees. After undercoating the papier-mâché mask, I boiled the bark to soften it (making the kitchen smell like an ancient dank forest in the process) then cut it into strips and glued it three quarters of the mask. You can click on any of the photos below to see larger versions.

mask blank and pieces of bark (2012) gluing the bark onto the mask (2012)

I then added a bit of black paint around the eye holes to darken them, and gave the part of the mask that wasn’t covered with bark a couple more coats of paint.

first coat of paint (2012) second coat of paint (2012)

A few weeks ago my thoughts returned to it and, while I was pleased with the original version, I decided that it would benefit from some additions. So I used some twine to tie on two antler-like branches found in a nearby park (well, somewhere between branches and twigs).

close up of attached wood (2015) enhanced mask face-on (2015)

The finished mask has a slightly more sinister aspect than the original (which is definitely a good thing), and will be appearing in a new series of photographs soon.

a clearer view of the 'antlers' (2015) the whole mask (2015)

Update Sunday 28th March 2015: you can see the first of the new photographs here.