August 2, 2010

Musical Mosaic Masks

The Mosaics That Sing
For years I have made mosaic masks. Yet they always seemed incomplete to me. There was that empty hollow space behind the face that was overlooked. True, when hung on a wall, no one would see the obverse side anyway. Yet the unfinished nature of that empty, heartless space always nagged me.
At one point I thought that I had found a solution to the back side. I simply made another concave mosaic in the interior. It was a good solution except that it was not feasible to display that side because the mask would only hang one way. It is possible that I still may to return to that idea and make the mask a free-standing object. Or I may simply engineer it to hang either front or back. But in the mean time a different solution has come about that incorporates my love for hand-made musical instruments.
This last year I have been working on making ceramic ocarinas with increasing complexity from simple whistles to double flutes. When I returned to my ceramic masks I decided to experiment with closing the back , adding a fipple (mouthpiece) and holes to make an ocarina. I finally finished my first three last month and not only displayed them but played them as well for the faculty lecture recently at Common Ground on the Hill in Westminster, MD. Unlike the double front and back mosaic masks, these can be hung either way - one way for the mosaic, the other to display the decorated musical instrument. The mosaic mask pictured above and to the right is cast from a friend’s face. Harriet would be pleased to know that she now sings a tune.

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