The traditional method of making Venetian masks in paper mache

Today, Venetian masks have become one of the symbols of the city and its magical Carnival, known throughout the world. the widespread use of masks by Venetians and then also by tourists contributed to the evolution of the figure of the mask-makers, artisans who since 1200 have handed down from father to son the secrets for their realization.Still today in some shops the traditional technique of papier-mâché is followed: a block of clay is moulded to give it the desired shape; a casting of scagliola plaster dissolved in water is then made and left to dry, creating a negative mould, then removing the clay.After 1-2 days the mask is removed from the mould, the edges, eyes, nose, mouth are cut with scissors and various blades, the cut parts are finished with wrapping paper or newspaper, then a plaster-based primer of Bologna and wallpaper glue is applied, left to dry and sanded. Finally, it can be decorated with tempera, oil or acrylic and with various techniques and materials. If desired, you can also give the mask an aged effect with wax combined with bitumen, then attach the laces to wear it. this technique gives the mask strength but also elasticity, grip and lightness.

 

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