Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Creating a Bird Splicer Mask Inspired from Bioshock Part 1

I wanted to continue my post on the Labyrinth mask I am working on, but unfortunately I just wasn't able to get enough work completed on it to fill a post. I'll save it for next week and this week I'll go over the first part of my Bird Splicer mask I'm making inspired from the game Bioshock. I started this mask not long after my Labyrinth mask; it soon becomes apparent in mask making that you will be working on multiple masks at the same time!

When I was making this mask, I didn't know I would be making a blog about mask making, so sadly I don't have many pictures of the original stages. I started the mask with another simple plaster cast of my face but added some cardboard frills! I made the shape of the beak I wanted from the side and drew it on cardboard. I cut out the two sides and glued them together, bending it where I wanted.

You can attach any cardboard pieces with plaster wrap as well as wrap the cardboard to make it sturdier. It will get loose from the moisture at first, so you will have to hold it until it begins to firm up. The cardboard also becomes very pliable at this point, so if you wanted a more organic or rounded shape, not is the time to do it.

Still attaching the pieces

Once the beak was attached, I started with the feathers on the rear side of the mask. This is not meant to be an exact replica of the mask worn in the game and so I had initially wanted to leave the back feathers out. But I found in my homework that the back feathers actually help to balance the the large beak in the front and so I decided to add only half of them.

When I was done with adding all of the features, I realized that there were way too many rigid edges and this mask, the beak especially, needed to be smooth and shiny! So, I thought of using celluclay, but after a quick experiment, found it wouldn't be what I needed. I moved onto the Original Sculpey polymer clay I had purchased for just such needs! If you've never used polymer clay, it's definitely different, but the major thing you need to know is that in order to smooth it, you use isopropyl alcohol. You can use any normal clay tools as well, but I find paper towels and alcohol works best.

Nice and smooth beak

 I covered the entire beak in a rolled out sheet of sculpey as well as the feathers. Once everything was secured and set the way I wanted it, I prepared to bake the clay so that it would harden. This specific clay bakes at 325 in the oven for 15 minutes. From what I read, there are no toxic gases released during the baking process, so I used my own oven. Others tend to use separate toaster ovens specifically for this purpose. Make your own decision on it.

In the oven - ready to bake
Once it was done baking, I let it cool for awhile. The next step was to sand down the rough edges and gesso everything in preparation for painting and hot gluing items onto it later. The next step was to sew the sequins onto the felt which will eventually cover the facial part of the mask. Sadly you'll have to wait until next Tuesday to see the progress on this mask, but this Friday I'll show you how to sequins!

This piece is now available for sale on Etsy HERE or you can contact me directly for purchase.

This is part 1 of this post series - please check here to continue reading part 2. 

Thanks for Reading and Happy Creating!

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